Guwahati, Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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Passport Seva Kendra opened in city
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, April 17 – The days of waiting for hours in queues to get a passport are over now. Aiming to make the passport obtaining process hassle-free, fool proof and more accountable, the region’s first Passport Seva Kendra was inaugurated here today. The service centre, a part of the Ministry of External Affairs’ Passport Seva Project, has been set up under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode with the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Citizens seeking to obtain a passport can fill up the application form online and can also scan and upload the relevant supporting documents at the website, after which one has to schedule an appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK). The PSK also has kiosks to help the citizens, who do not have access to computer or Internet.

“Considering the huge demand of passports every year and the rush at the passport offices, we had to find out a mechanism which is hassle-free and people-friendly,” Muktesh K Pardeshi, Joint Secretary and Chief Passport Officer, said while inaugurating the centre.

It may be mentioned here that the Regional Passport Office, Guwahati, has been catering to the needs of six northeastern States, except Tripura and due to the growing demands, the need to ease the burden was being felt since long. In the year 2011, the Guwahati passport office issued 54,000 passport applications. “On the scheduled day of appointment at the PSK, the applicant’s form and supporting documents would be evaluated and sent for verification. Even the photograph and the biometrics capturing of the applicant would be done at the PSK. If there is any problem in the form, or some other supporting documents are required, the applicant would be informed on the spot. Before the applicant leaves the PSK, he or she would have an acknowledgement receipt stating the current status of the application form,” Rajesh Dogra of TCS said.

The status of the application could also be checked on toll-free helpline number 1800-258-1800, which got operational for NE States from today. Callers of the region can also opt to get replies in Assamese.

Other than the PSK at the Hono Boro Road of Ganeshguri area, the other State capitals of the region would also have Laghu Passport Kendras, to cater to the needs of the citizens.

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