Joint Secretary and Chief Passport Officer, Ministry of External Affairs, Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi, will launch operations at the new Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) in Tiruchi and Thanjavur on June 29.
The Tiruchi PSK equipped to service 250 to 300 applicants every day will serve Tiruchi, Karur and Perambalur districts while the one at Thanjavur with a capacity to handle 300 to 350 applicants a day will cater to applicants in Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Pudukkottai and Ariyalur districts, K. Balamurugan, Regional Passport Officer, told presspersons on Monday. The two PSKs, each headed by an Assistant Passport Officer, will function under the jurisdiction of Regional Passport Office, Tiruchi.
Tata Consultancy Services would handle front-end services that would include receiving and streamlining applications, photographing and collecting biometric data of applicants at the Kendras. The PSKs will eliminate the problem of touts, Mr. Balamurugan said, adding that the role of travel agents will be confined to rendering service for filling in applications.
The Regional Passport Office will have one counter to handle limited number of applications of all types in emergency situations.
Likewise, the District Passport Cells, where applications for fresh passports alone will be received, will continue to function until the PSKs are able to take the load.
The duration of police verification could be reduced by seven to ten days under the new online procedure approved by the Director General of Police for the offices of Superintendents of Police to convey acceptance or refusal.
Only applications with prior appointment will be processed at PSK, and the applicants after obtaining the Application Reference Number can choose their time to get the formalities fulfilled by producing all original documents and photocopies as required till 4.00 p.m.
Status of applications under the new system could be tracked by calling the call centre at 1800-258-1800 or by logging on to www.passportindia.gov.in, Mr. Balamurugan said.
The two PSKs under the jurisdiction of Regional Passport Office, Tiruchi, are among 77 PSKs planned across the country as a mission mode program under the National e-governance plan. Seven PSKs – two in Bangalore, and one each in Mangalore, Hubli, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Ambala – are already open to citizens, processing 3,500 applications on a daily basis.