Kerala

Passports to be reissued

Procedural formalities, fee waived for those affected by the calamity

It’s quick relief for those who have lost their passports to the flood waters.

Since the floods, over 500 passports have been re-issued from the Kochi Regional Passport Office alone, by waiving the procedural formalities and fee. On a daily average, 60 such applications are processed and passports issued. The numbers are likely to go up during the coming days. The authorities said a large number of passports were issued to the applicants from the flood-hit districts of the State on the same day of submitting the application.

Usually, an applicant will have to pay ₹1,500 for a lost passport. In cases such as damage sustained and pages lost, one will have to shell out around ₹8,000 from his pocket. The flood victims were exempted from these payments and passports re-issued free of cost, said Prasanth Chandran, Regional Passport Officer, Kochi.

Some agents were reported to be making the applicants pay a fee for the damaged passports, though the government had done away with it for the victims of the calamity, he said.

All that one needs to do is to generate an Application Reference Number online by applying for re-issue of passport at www.passportindia.gov.in. The victims need not wait for obtaining the appointment online. They need to get a “loss certificate” or First Information Report from the police station concerned and can straight away walk into any of the Passport Seva Kendras and get their documents re-issued. The mandatory police verification has also been waived for the applicants, he said.

In some cases, the re-issued passports were delivered to the applicants over the counter from the Regional Passport Office, Panampilly Nagar, after their applications were processed at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK). Normally, passports are not issued straight to the applicants but through speed post, Mr. Chandran said.

Though the applicants have the option of re-printing the damaged passports, the visa stamped on the damaged ones cannot be reprinted, thus turning the visa invalid. Once reprinted, the damaged passport also becomes invalid. It may pose issues for the applicants who have a valid visa. Hence, it is advisable to go in for the re-issuance of the document, he said.

Clarifications on damaged passports can be obtained on the telephone number 94477 31152.

Floods had also affected the functioning of the PSKs in Aluva, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Thrissur for two days as the offices remained inaccessible due to flooding. The Ernakulam Regional Passport Office, Ernakulam, functioned on August 22, a holiday, for the victims.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:22:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/passports-to-be-reissued/article24786777.ece

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