Continuing with its record performance since 2012, Passport Office Srinagar during 2015 rendered around 70,000 (Seventy Thousand) passports in the year 2015 while around 2, 48000 (Two lakh forty eight thousands) number of Passport services have been rendered since 2012 (the year of commissioning of Passport Seva Kendra at Srinagar). In a statement o KNS on Wednesday, from 2014, almost 24 per cent in issuance of Passport Service has been increased. According to the statement, one of the remarkable features observed was a substantial decrease of around 62% in court cases against Passport Office. “This has been mainly been due to the confidence which this office was able to instill among the general public and the review of cases by the concerned verifying Offices,” an official in the statement has said. He said one of major challenges faced by this office was the long appointment cycle of online appointments which even had gone up to 40 days particularly post floods. The office was able to bring it down substantially within seven days period due to tireless efforts of the office. “The office even functioned on off- days besides o8 passport melas, 03 Passport Adalats and 03 Passport camps were held during the period. In addition to this, office was able to clear the pendency that had got accumulated due to non-functioning of office during floods. All those passport holders who applied in lieu of damage/lost passport in floods were issued with duplicate Passports free of cost during the notified period,” he said. In its outreach to the public, off-station Passport camps were held at Kargil and Leh and efforts are on to conduct more such camps in other parts of the valley. He said that during the year, numbers of measures were taken for simplification of application processing which inter-alia including accepting of self attested copies of requisite documents, Waiver from production of original certificates for students against certificates from the educational institutions where the original documents have been retained, acceptance of verification certificates for Tatkal without any jurisdiction of verifying certificates issuing authorities, Exemption to orphan/abandoned children born after 26/01/1989 from the mandatory requirements of submission of birth certificate, acceptance of registered rent agreements as a valid document for the proof of address in respect of tenants, Proof of residence of present residence only, Acceptance of Photo Passbooks of all the Banks (authorized by RBI) as proof of residence, Furnishing of prior information letter (Annexure N) in place of NOC/Identity Certificate in respect of Govt. Employees, Non requirement of newspaper clipping in cases of simple correction in names, Relaxation in processing of applications of minors and acceptance of e-Aadhar as proof of address & Proof of photo identity. He said that submission of affidavit in the form of Annexure –“K” by the married applicants to obtain passports under the Fresh categories, who are unable to produce the proof of marriage due to matrimonial discard etc. “Passport Office also issued Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) to the passport holders being in possession of hand written passports (Non Machine Readable Passport) as handwritten passport holders or those passports with endorsements in the passports may face problems at airports in view of guidelines from International Aviation Organization (ICAO) for acquiring machine readable passports,” he said. Official said that Passport Office Srinagar was also successful in ensuring hassle-free crossing of Cross LoC passengers at Kaman and Teetwal. Extensions in stay were also granted to the desired eligible permit holders. “Record numbers of around twenty Eight thousands (28,000) Haj (2015) aspirants from Kashmir Zone had submitted their passports before the State Haj Committee which is testimony to the performance of this office in facilitating maximum possible number of passports applicants. Passport Melas were held during the Haj application submission period besides separate counters were installed in the office during the period,” he said. He said that to reduce the time in Police Verification this office has already offered online personal particulars form downloading to the police authorities. Efforts are on to reduce the time taken in verification and in this regard a high level meeting was conducted by the Ministry with all the concerned at New Delhi in August. The office is also part of newly created State Division in MEA for facilitations of International Linkage of States. “For the convenience of the general public land for Passport Bhawan has been acquired in Rajbagh area and the concerned construction agency has been asked to expedite the construction of building,” statement reads. The office has had been making all efforts to safeguard the applicants from the exploitation by touts and undesirable elements. Periodical checks are made in and around Passport Office and the concerned Police stands informed. Ministry has not authorized any agent or agency with regard to processing of passport applications. Under the Passport Seva, the Ministry has made it mandatory to complete the entire form filling process online, including payment of applicable fee and scheduling of appointment for seeking Passport related services. The Ministry of External affairs along with CSC e-Governance Services India Limited has launched Passport related services through vast network of over one Lakh Common Service centre’s(CSCs) across rural hinterland. The CSCs would facilitate filling and uploading of Passport application form, payment of applicable fee (through debit/credit card or through SBI internet banking/challan mode) and scheduling of appointment for the visit to the Passport Seva Kendra(PSK) at nominal charge not exceeding Rs 100/-.
2015 Kashmir Despatch