OTHER STATES

Passport camps to be conducted on regular basis in districts

Staff Reporter

Number of applicants up from 42,000 in 2007 to 50,000 in 2008, says official



Some 5,000 old applications reviewed and passports issued, she says

Efforts under way to reach out to people



BHUBANESWAR: With the international market opening up and local youths more than eager to grab opportunities, the number of passport applicants has gone up dramatically in Orissa during past five years.

“The number of passport applications in Orissa has gone up from 2000 to 50000 during the last five years. The passport office, Bhubaneswar, issued over 50,000 passports in 2008 compared to 42,000 passports issued in 2007,” said Padma Mahanti, passport officer, here on Wednesday.

She said a special drive had even been undertaken since September 2008 and about 5000 old applications pertaining to the period 2002-2007 had been reviewed and over 1000 passports had been issued in this review process.

Of late seeking passports has not remained urban-centric. “The first passport camp conducted at Angul was a great success with over 500 people receiving passport related services,” Ms. Mahanti said.

The second camp to cater to applications from Khurda was conducted recently. Various reasons for delay such as police verification reports and receipt and scrutiny of passport applications at the district passport cells and designated Speed Post Centres were being looked into, the passport officer said.

The passport officer said similar camps would be organised in other districts of the State on a regular basis.

“We are relentlessly trying to reach out to people, to disseminate passport service-related information, provide on-the-spot services like receiving fresh passport applications, receive and process passport applications under Tatkal scheme, issue reminders for police verification reports, look into pending passport applications and redress passport related grievances,” Ms. Mohanti said.

According to passport officials, two Speed Post Centres at Balugaon and Khalikote had been designated to receive passport applications as a large number of people were applying for passports from these areas. The centres will be made operational within a week.

Moreover, a help desk had been set up on the Passport Office premises with the help of two ex-servicemen to help applicants filling up application forms, enquiry forms and letters, the passport officer said.

An open house meeting was being held every Wednesday and during 2008 some 1000 cases had been disposed of expeditiously.

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