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Citizens find common passport friend

Passport Seva has acquired a whole new meaning for residents of Jharkhand with eight common service centres (CSCs) abridging the once lengthy application procedure.

The centres, which allow one to apply for the overseas travel permit online under professional guidance without having to go to the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) on Ratu Road in the capital, were opened at DC offices in Ranchi, Dhanbad and Hazaribagh, SDO offices in Dhanbad, Hazaribagh and Khunti, RMC office and Pahari Mandir on March 17. A ninth centre will begin at Karamtoli Chowk in the capital next month.

Regional passport officer Sanatan said the pilot common service centres were inviting applications since March 17 and response was very good. “People living in the suburbs, who do not have easy access to or adequate knowledge of computers, are finding it easy to apply for passports,” he added.

Rajesh Kumar, the IT head of RMC, was more specific. “Last month, our Pragya Kendra (read CSC) was selected for Passport Seva. On an average, we are receiving 20 applicants a day. We function seven days a week. But, more awareness is required,” he said.

Elaborating how they were helping citizens, he added: “We charge Rs 100 for the registration guidance. Applicants are issued an appointment date within a week from the day of filling up the form. They just have to go and get their original photographs and documents verified at the PSK on Ratu Road. Passports are issued within a month of registration. So far, we have seen 200 being issued.”

Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey echoed Kumar and said the centre at his office was also running successfully. “It is convenient and secure,” he added.

The common centres offer multiple transactions at a single geographical location. The main purpose of these centres is to provide physical facility for delivery of e-services to rural and remote locations, where availability of computers and Internet is currently negligible or mostly absent.

The centres also have mass broadcast provisions. They send text messages to remind a person of various stages of application such as “dispatched for police verification” or “police verification complete” or “passport dispatched”.

Residents who have already availed of their “neighbourhood service” said they had had a pleasant experience.

“Earlier, police verification alone took 90 days. But now, you get a passport within 30 days. The local common service centres not just save our time, they offer us professional help for a paltry fee. As a result, the margin of errors goes down,” said Morabadi resident and government employee Niranjan Kumar.

Have Pragya Kendras eased your passport hassles?

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