Source The Hindu
There has been an increase in the number people applying for passport
Open more counters to meet the growing demand of local people
The two counters for receiving passport applications in Belgaum are not in a position to meet the growing demands of the local people.
One can see a large number of people waiting for several hours to submit their applications at the counters housed at the Head Post Office and the office of the Superintendent of Police here, on any given day.
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number people applying for passport. Among them are students from the city and other parts of the district who look forward to pursue higher education in the United States or the United Kingdom.
According to B.R. Patil, marketing executive of the Regional Passport Office, about 4,000 applications were received at the counter located in the post office in 2007. As many as 3,000 applications were submitted at the counter in 2006.
In 2008, 2,830 applications have been received at the counter till Friday and the figure is expected to cross 5,000-mark by the year-end, according to Mr. Patil.
According to a private agent, service provided at the two counters is “satisfactory”. However, they are not in a position to attend to even 50 per cent of the applicants on any given day. Applications are received at the two counters only between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. As a result, many people return home without submitting their application after waiting for several hours.
The delay is not due to any lethargic attitude on the part of the officials managing these counters but because of the time spent on verifying each application in presence of the applicant.
The officials assist the applicants if the applications are not filled properly to ensure that they are not rejected. They also enter the data online in the presence of the applicant and despatch the applications to the Regional Passport Office in Bangalore in the evening.
It is difficult for one or two persons to handle so many applications every day, said an applicant and added that more counters should be opened in other localities so that their work load was evenly distributed.
L.N. Lengde, a businessman, who spent over six hours along with his children to submit the applications on Friday, said he lost almost a day’s business waiting in the queue. Much time could be saved if there was a separate officer to verify the applications, he said. Another applicant, who was in the queue from 7 a.m. and submitted his application at 11 a.m., said that the authorities concerned should open more counters to meet the growing demand of local people.
Thank God! I had got my passport done 6 years back at that time I had to wait for 70 minutes to submit my form. So it seems many many have travelled aborad from Belgaum, A good sign of prosperity, may be.