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Special passport appointments for Haj pilgrims from Jan 11­

Bangalore, Jan 7, DHNS: 1:31 IST
The Regional Passport Office will give special appointments to accept passport applications of Haj pilgrims this year from January 11 to February 10.

About 325 appointments will be given at the Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) in Bangalore (Lalbagh and Marathahalli), Mangalore and Hubli. Regional Passport Officer K J Srinivasa said special counters and tokens will be issued for those who have obtained Application Reference Number (ARN) at the two-day Passport Mela organised by the Karnataka State Haj Committee. The mela began on Saturday.

“These applicants will be asked to get the originals of their documents, which will be checked at the passport camp by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) employees. They will also be given an ARN. They can come to the passport office with this number, from there they will be directed to the special counters,” he said.

About 150 appointments in Lalbagh PSK, 100 in Marathahalli, 50 in Mangalore and 25 appointment at the Hubli PSK will be given during the month. All the applications will be processed in the normal mode. About 6,000 applications were processed by the Passport office last year for those travelling to Haj.

Earlier, people who were selected to travel to Haj were issued temporary travel permits valid for the duration of the trip. In 2010, Saudi Arabia made it mandatory for travellers to have a normal passport if they were entering the country to travel for the Haj pilgrimage. The Haj Committee has also made it compulsory for people to have a valid passport if they intend to travel for Haj. Nearly 6,000 persons from Karnataka travelled last year on the Haj pilgrimage.

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