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70 more Passport Seva Kendras to start functioning by January

S.Ganesan

Tata Consultancy Services to provide front-end operations at the centres

— Photo: M.Moorthy

Printing presence:Collector Jayashree Muralidharan's finger prints being screened at the newly established Passport Seva Kendra in Tiruchi on Wednesday. (From right) Inspector General of Police, Central Zone, K.C.Mahali, Regional Passport Officer K.Balamurugan and Commissioner of Police E.Ma.Masanamuthu, are in the picture.

TIRUCHI: All the 77 Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) planned to be set up across the country under public-private partnership mode by the Ministry of External Affairs would be functional by January 2012, according to Anil K.Sobti, Project Director, Passport Seva Project, Ministry of External Affairs. “Seven PSKs were opened on a pilot basis. We are in the process of rolling out the remaining 70 PSKs across the country. We will do it in the next seven to eight months; two or three PSKs would be opened every month,” Mr.Sobti told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Tiruchi and Thanjavur PSKs here on Wednesday.

The PSKs are being opened in partnership with the Tata Consultancy Services, which would provide the front-end operations at the kendras such as collection of applications, recording of bio-metric details and photograph of the applicants. The project aims at providing passport services to the public in a comfortable, efficient and secure ambience.

Six PSKs

Mr.Sobti said six PSKs, including three in Chennai, one each in New Delhi, Vishakapatnam and Coimbatore would be opened in July. The Madurai and Tirunelveli PSKs are slated for opening on Thursday. Once the PSKs in Chennai and Coimbatore are opened, Tamil Nadu would be fully covered.

The Ministry has also planned to open 15 mini PSKs and five of them would be located in the North-Eastern States.

Answering a query, Mr.Sobti said all sovereign and critical functions at the PSKs would be handled by officers and employees of the Regional Passport Offices under the Ministry. “There is no threat of unauthorised access to application details or data. Without our permission nobody will have access to the data or application details,” he maintained when asked about the security of the data collected at the PSKs.

Steps have been taken to overcome certain initial problems faced in the PSK at Bangalore and capacity of the Kendra, in terms of the number of applications processed, has been enhanced, he said in reply to a query.

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