Post office PSKs soon to speed up issue of passports

Post office PSKs soon to speed up issue of passports

Here is a breather for all those who have spent long hours at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) for your application to be processed.

Soon Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) will be set up in various parts of the Karnataka. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is implementing the project in three phases.

The idea is to decongest PSKs and ensure citizens get passports faster. “In the first phase, they will come up in Davangere, Belagavi, Mysuru and Hassan. Successful trials have been conducted in Mysuru. Once POPSKs are operational, citizens need not visit PSKs,” Bharat Kumar Kuthati, Regional Passport Officer, told DH.

The Lalbagh Road PSK is the largest in Karnataka, handling 1,700 applications a day. The Devarabeesanahalli PSK on Marathahalli Outer Ring Road follows, handing 860 applications. The next is Hubballi PSK with 560, followed by Mangaluru (540) while Passport Seva Lahgu Kendra in Kalaburgi handles 160 applications and Mysuru POPSK attends to 130 applications. The staff at the PSKs are also limited. Looking at the rush at various PSKs, the staff is diverted.

To execute phase-1 at the earliest, places have been finalised by the postal department. The MEA is currently procuring machinery for installing them. Talks are on with Bengaluru postal circle to identify land for opening POPSKs in Bengaluru, Kuthati added.

Earlier, the General Post Office used to accept passport applications. But it was closed down after biometrics were introduced to the list. The upcoming POPSKs will have provisions to collect biometrics.

In the second phase, POPSK will come up in Raichur, Bidar, Vijayapura, Ballari, Udupi, Tumakuru and Shivamogga. In the third phase, they will come up in all district headquarters and at every 50-km distance. The MEA and the postal department had set a year’s deadline to set up all the POPSKs.

Footfall, complaints high

Even as the Lalbagh Road PSK handles the largest crowd, facilities remain neglected. Applicants complain that there is no canteen, no drinking water, toilets badly maintained and there is no parking facility.

“I spent nearly five hours at Lalbagh Road PSK processing my application, without food, water and a place to sit. I could not go out as I did not know when my application number will be called out. Chairs are limited and the area was claustrophobic. Children and senior citizens are the worst affected,” said an applicant.

When these complaints were brought to Kuthati’s notice, he said the matter will be immediately addressed. “We have outsourced provision of basic facilities to TCS, who are also handling counter A at the PSK. Providing water and maintaining the washroom is a priority and basic. No laxity will be tolerated. Canteen issue will be discussed with TCS and MEA,” he said.

DH News Service

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