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Avalanche of passport applications flummox police Thursday, November 29, 2001
BY SANJAY PANDEY, FOR TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: With the regional passport office gearing itself up to issue passports within seven days of receiving the police verification report, the police department has been caught napping.
The grossly-understaffed Ahmedabad police, which receives some 60,000 applications annually, is finding it difficult for accomplish the task within the stipulated 15 to 30 days.
The process is also taking more time due to three-tier processing of applications received from the passport office.
The applications are first registered, sorted and sent to the respective police station by the passport division of the special branch. At the police station, the applications are again entered into the records and sent to police chowkies in-charge of a particular area, where they are once again entered into the records.
Finally, chowky processes the application. The application then goes back through the same channels to the passport office.
"We have to do it," says, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Passports) K M Rathod, expressing the department's inability to simplify the process.
He reasons that the details to be verified are as diverse as the date and place of birth, residence address and educational qualification. "Sometimes constables have to make more than one visit to the applicant's residence as, many a time, they are not present when the cops go there," says Rathod.
He feels that increase in the strength of the staff would expedite the process at the department level while increase in passport fees would discourage non-serious applicants, thereby reducing the workload.
"Preparation of verification reports is just one of the several duties assigned to the police stations and chowkies," points out Deputy Police Commissioner, Zone-I, V M Parghi, again expressing the department's helplessness in expediting the process.
Interestingly, half of the total passport applications received by the police are meant for seven police stations falling under Parghi's jurisdiction in the western part of the city.
There were 636 police personnel in deployed at the police stations falling under Zone 1 in 1981. It rose to 1,396 in 2001. But the growth in personnel was rendered ineffective by the four-time growth in the population.
According to data compiled by the police, 7.45 lakh people resided in Zone 1 of the city in 1981. This grew to 28 lakhs in 2001. Police stations falling under Zone 1 received more than 30,000 passport applications for verification last year, which was more than 50% of the total applications received by the city police.
As many as 26,282 passport applications were received till October-end this year and officials say it would easily cross the 35,000-mark by the end of the year.
Satellite police station received 7,468 applications last year. This year, it had accounted for 7,100 applications till October-end.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]