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Two Passport Seva Kendras inaugurated

Special Correspondent

The first two in Tamil Nadu set up in Tiruchi and Thanjavur

TIRUCHI: The Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) in Tiruchi and Thanjavur, the first two in Tamil Nadu set up by the Ministry of External Affairs in association with Tata Consultancy Services were dedicated to the nation here on Wednesday.

While the Tiruchi PSK will cater to Tiruchi, Perambalur and Karur, the Thanjavur PSK will serve the other five districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Ariyalur under the jurisdiction of the Regional Passport Office, Tiruchi.

The PSKs would have a capacity to handle about 2 lakh applications a year, said Anil K. Sobti, Project Director, Passport Seva Project, Ministry of External Affairs, after inaugurating the PSKs at Tiruchi. Currently, the Regional Passport Office in Tiruchi handles about 1.25 lakh applications every year.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sobti said passports would be issued under the Tatkal system in three days through the PSKs. Under the regular system, passports would be issued within six days excluding the time taken for getting the police verification reports, he said and appealed to the Police to expedite the process of issuing the verification certificates.

He clarified that the District Passport Cells would continue to function for the time being and gradually be phased out.

The Regional Passport Office would function as a back office and in emergency cases applicants could approach the office for getting passports.

Collector Jayashree Muralidharan said applicants could get speedy and efficient service from the PSKs and appealed to the people of the region to utilise them well.

K. C. Mahali, Inspector General of Police, Central Zone, underlined the need for training more police officers in the process of issuing verification reports.

He assured the Ministry that the police would strive to reduce the time taken for issuing the verification reports.

E. Ma. Masanamuthu, City Police Commissioner, while welcoming the opening of the PSK, however, emphasised the need to ensure that only genuine applicants were issued passports and nobody was allowed to misuse the facility.

Shalini Mathur, Project Director, TCS, said the Passport Seva Project (PSP) was being implemented on a mission mode by the Ministry of External Affairs and TCS.

Goloh Simli, Principal Consultant, PSP, said all sovereign and critical functions at the PSKs would be handled by the employees and the officers of the Ministry of External Affairs.

K. Balamurugan, Regional Passport Officer, Tiruchi, said the district administration has agreed to provide a suitable place for the Regional Passport Office in Tiruchi soon.

Passport applicants can now apply online through the website www.passportindia.gov.in and get an appointment for personal appearance at the PSK at their convenience.

TCS would provide front-end services such as collection of applications and recording of the bio-metric data and photographs of the applicants.

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