'Obtaining passport torture'
Cong stages stir against poor facilities at Passport Seva Kendra
Flaying the poor services and lack of amenities at Mangalore Passport Seva Kendra, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee organised a protest in Mangalore on Tuesday.
Addressing the protesters outside the Passport Seva Kendra office, KPCC Secretary Ivan D'Souza complained that the entire procedure for obtaining a passport has become a torture.
"At present, the Seva Kendra is being managed by Tata Consultancy Services. However, the poor services offered by them is giving a bad name to the Central government. There is a need to withdraw the management contract given to Tata Consultancy and Ministry of External Affairs should undertake the management," he said.
Pointing out the flaws in the Passport Seva Kendra, D'Souza said that as many as 450 applicants who visit the Seva Kendra do not have a place to sit. Most of the people are seen standing for hours on the street in a queue. As the density of traffic is high near the office and there is no compound wall, chances of accidents are high, he regretted.
D'Souza also pointed out that there is no adequate seating facility, no clean toilets, no parking space and no canteen facilities in the vicinity.
The 'Walk-In' facility should be implemented so that it could benefit people without computer knowledge. The 450 applications intake limit should be increased to 600. The passport office should be shifted to the Deputy Commissioner’s complex or to Taluk Panchayat or Zilla Panchayat buildings, a separate counter should be opened for senior citizens and women applicants, were the main demands put forth by the protesters.
Tension prevailed at one point of time and the police had to intervene as protesters tried to stop a person who tried to sneak into the office premises.
Ivan D'Souza submitted a memorandum to Passport Grants Officer R R Chetnis and Ghajangi and TCS Officer Deepak Nagraj.
‘Pay money to get appointment’
The people outside Passport Seva Kendra to submit their paper work had their own woes to narrate. “One has to take an online appointment, before submitting the applications. However, I could not get the appointment since the last 20 days due to limited time limit and heavy traffic on the website.
I had no other option but to approach an agent and pay Rs 1,000 to get three appointments," said Donald D'Cuncha, a passport applicant. He also added that the Passport Seva Kendra does not have a Public Relations Officer. "One cannot voice out their grievances. They have to only suffer," he regretted.