Of the 13 Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) allocated to the State as part of the Ministry of External Affairs' ‘Passport Seva Project' aimed at providing efficient and speedy service to passport applicants, 10 have begun operations on a trial basis. They are gearing up to dole out full-scale services in a month's time.
While the PSKs at Thiruvananthapuram, Neyyattinkara and Kollam under Regional Passport Office (RPO), Thiruvananthapuram; Tripunithura, Aluva, Alappuzha and Kottayam under RPO, Ernakulam; Malappuram under RPO, Malappuram; and Kozhikode and Vadakara under RPO, Kozhikode have become functional, PSKs at Thrissur, Kannur and Payyannur are expected to begin service by mid-March.
“With the PSKs launching the service, none of the speed post centres and the District Passport Collection Centres at Aluva, Kottayam and Alappuzha will accept applications from tomorrow [March 1]. After submitting applications online at our centralised website www.passportindia.gov.in applicants can now walk into the PSK of their choice on the appointed date with relevant documents to complete the process in less than an hour,” B. Sreekumar, Regional Passport Officer, Ernakulam, told the media at the newly-opened Tripunithura PSK.
However, till the Thrissur PSK came into being, the existing passport cell there would continue to receive applications, he said.
Once fully operational, each PSK, Mr. Sreekumar said, would process 500 applications a day and the time taken for delivery of ordinary and Tatkal passports would come down drastically, eventually to not more than three days subject to police clearance.
The impressive, public-friendly PSKs, readied by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which is executing the Passport Seva Project, have their front-end office, manned by TCS staff, where collection of biometric data takes place while passport officials verify documents and collect fees.
== COURTESY   THE HINDU  KOCHI, March 1, 2012