Though the passport officials are trying new methods like organising Passport Mela for the convenience of citizens, the issues related to issuing of passport is far from over.
In a span of less than a month, a city-based NGO has received 32 complaints regarding delay in issuing of passports.
While the passport officials blame shortage of passport booklets, applicants claim that they face major problem in getting the police verification done.
City-based NGO Nav Bharat Nagarik Manch had started a helpdesk where they had appealed to passport applicants to register their complaints.
Vinita Deshmukh, convener of Nav Bharat Nagarik Manch, said, “There is a nexus of agents which extract money from the applicants and the passport officials also do not take any proactive measures to curb the touts menace. The officials should take the responsibility of bringing transparency in the entire process.”
Ashwini Prashant Shinde (29), an IT professional who had submitted her passport application in November 2012, said that it took more than a year to get the police verification done. Even after the police verification was done in December 2013 she has still not received the passport.
Shinde said, “I have waited for more than 15 months and I have still not got my passport, I was supposed to travel abroad along with my husband as he got a job offer there. I don’t know how long I will have to wait to get my passport.”
Savio Dias (35), a working professional, had to quit his job and come down to Pune for police verification. He has been waiting for more than six months now. Dias said, “I have applied for a change of address, when I had submitted the application. The passport officer did not inform me anything. It was my agent who asked me to be present physically for the verification. Due to all this I am unable to meet my parents who live in Dubai.”
Kritika Naidu (33), a working professional, said, “I have applied for a fresh passport in August last year as I got a job in Australia. However, I have to give up the job because I was unable to make it there by January.” Assistant regional passport officer Rashema Arora said, “The reason for delay in issuing the passport is the shortage of passport booklets. Besides, there is some technical issue due to which applicants are facing problem when they try to login.”