The wait for passport applicants in the city has not gotten any shorter, with the wait time for appointments under the normal category remaining at almost a month.
As on Friday, the earliest appointment available at the Lalbagh Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) for normal appointments was October 29, and October 16 for Tatkaal applications. At the Sai Arcade PSK, October 25 was the earliest available appointment date for normal applications and October 16 for Tatkaal applicants.
Bengaluru Regional Passport Office (RPO) officials attributed the long wait time to the redeployment of officials from the PSKs to the newly established Post Office PSKs (POPSKs). There are 12 POPSKs in Karnataka at present.
“Staff from the Lalbagh and Sai Arcade PSKs have been redeployed at the new POPSKs since this April, which is why there is a long wait time for appointments. The number of appointments too has been brought down at the two PSKs: from around 1,500 appointments per day in the Lalbagh PSKs, it is now around 1,000. The number of appointments at the Sai Arcade PSK is now around 500 compared to 700 before,” said Bharath Kumar Kuthati, Regional Passport Officer, Bengaluru.
Passport officials, however, said there was unlikely to be a change in the situation immediately, though the Ministry of External Affairs is working out measures to bring down the waiting time. “The Ministry is trying to resolve the issue,” Kuthati added.
He said the volume of passports is around 3,500 usually, with the number going up during certain months. “There is a year-on-year growth of around 12%, and around 15% growth in demand if you compare month-to-month from the previous year. There are various factors that come into play, including continuous holidays,” he said.
As many as 7.34 lakh passports were issued last year by the Bengaluru RPO.