Thiruvananthapuram: Government plans to open
77 `passport seva kendras` in various parts of the country to
expedite the process of issuing passports, Minister of State
for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, said.
As pilot projects, the first passport seva kendras (PSK)
would start functioning in Chandigargh and Bangalore. After
monitoring their functioning, other PSKs would be opened in
various stages next year, Tharoor told reporters after a
meeting of passport officers, here today.
Kerala would have 13 PSKs. The PSKs would process the
applications and sent them to regional offices for further
Stating that eliminating touts and middlemen who exploit
passpport seekers was one of the main agendas before the
department, Tharoor said police help have been sought to deal
with touts hanging around passport offices.
On Biometric passports, the minister said work was
progressing with a target of issuing new passports on
biometric format from June next.
Steps would be taken to improve amenities at offices and
reduce passport processing time. The normal period for
getting a new passport was 45 days, if police clearance was
received within 21 days, he added.