CHENNAI, Feb. 6: Three new passport seva kendras (front offices) of the Regional Passport Office, in addition to a back office at Rayala Towers on Anna Salai, will begin functioning from April 1. They will drastically bring down the time taken in getting a passport.
Top diplomatic sources in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) told TOI from New Delhi on Friday that the kendra will be located in Vadapalani, Tambaram and Nelson Manickam Road. Passport applicants from anywhere in the city can use any of these three centres.
“The government and Tata Consultancy Services, which is the service provider, have agreed on the three locations,” said the diplomat. The passport seva kendra will enable an applicant to get their forms processed in 45 minutes.
“The front office staff at the kendras would receive applications, feed in biometric data and issue orders on passports. The printing and dispatch of the passports would be done at Rayala Towers, manned by both staff of the MEA and Tata Consultancy Services” the diplomat said.
At present, may applicants face difficulties complying with the formalities and end up answering queries at a later date, leading to a delay in getting a passport. Once the seva kendras are in place, the form required for police verification would not have to be manually handled: it would be sent online to the police offices concerned.
The present office, spread over 8,000 sq ft in a comparatively old building at Shastri Bhavan on Haddows Road, issues around 22,000 passports a month.
The new office at Rayala Towers, acquired after the settlement of a 20-year dispute, is spread over 13,000 sq ft in a swanky glass and steel structure on arterial Anna Salai.
The MEA had signed a Rs 1,000-crore contract with Tata Consultancy Services in 2008 for the Passport Seva Project (PSP) which, under the Buy-Own-Operate-Transfer model, aims at improving the time taken for issuing a passport from the existing 45 days to three days.
A call centre would be set up to answer queries on the status of a passport application.