Passport Seva Kendras catering to only 50% of demand for appointments owing to COVID-19
Amidst the furore over recognition of vaccines globally, the demand for passport related services has seen an increase, prompting a longer waiting period.
According to officials of Regional Passport Office (RPO), Bengaluru, since the lockdown norms were lifted in June, passport services were opened gradually and partially, and have received a big response.
Regional Passport Officer Bharath Kumar Kuthati told The Hindu that only 50% appointments are being given across Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) and Post Office PSKs.
“The response has been good, and there is lot of waiting time now. People are forced to wait for 10 days for an appointment. Unfortunately, we have to cater only to half due to COVID-19 norms. For instance, we used to have 1,600 appointments in the Lalbagh PSK, but now we are giving only 800,” he said.
Mr. Kuthati explained that reasons for the high demand are many: “For almost 1.5 years, services have been impacted. All those citizens whose passports have expired, were looking for the opportunity to renew them, which is the main reason. In addition, academic sessions are starting abroad, contributing to the demand. Those who generally want a passport too are taking appointments,” he said.
Services were severely impacted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and restrictions, resulting in the Bengaluru RPO issuing only half the normal number of passports, and related services.
Citizens have the option of linking their passport number with their vaccination status by registering the number as the ID on the COWIN portal. | Photo Credit: T. NARAYAN
For those who wish, the Central government has facilitated the option of linking their passport number with their vaccination status by registering the number as the ID on the COWIN portal.
“If you’re travelling abroad, the receiving country should know that you are vaccinated. This can happen only by connecting through the passport,” Mr. Kuthati said.
Source: Read Full Article