Mangaluru: Got Patience! For it will be a ‘Long Wait’ to get your Job done at Local Passport Office

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“There are hundreds of applications pending in the passport office due to lack of granting officers. We need to increase the number of officers for swift processing and issuing of the passports. As a legislative member, it is my duty to solve the problems of the people in the district. I have raised such questions and I will follow up these issues until the problems are solved.”- MLC Ivan D’souza during a press meet on 11 August 2014

Mangaluru: Well said by MLC Ivan D’Souza in the above statement, but even after 10 months of his assurance to the public of rectifying the problems at the local passport office, just like other politicians who promise many things, it seems like, “I don’t practice what I preach?” kind of policy. But even before being a MLC, Ivan has protested many a times along with congress leaders to improve the services and facilities at the local Passport Office- but as of today nothing much has changed, people trying to get their passport work done are going through lots of hassles with the passport officials, and also facing many inconveniences at the office.

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On behalf of hundreds/thousands of people who are going through a hectic time in getting their passport work done at the local PP office, I kindly request MLC Ivan D’Souza to look into the situations and make his promises to the general public a reality. And for that matter, I think even MLA JR Lobo who has been very helpful to the citizens of Mangaluru in various issues, can also intervene to solve the ongoing problems at PP office. Thank you!

Yes, be ready to be treated like a peasant of colonial times, the govt staff over here at the passport office doesn’t even think in their dreams that their salaries are paid by the very citizens they are supposed to serve. Forget about having addressed politely and all, they will treat you like animals. For simple things you will be made to wait in queue for hours outside, then once you are inside you have to wait for hours for your number to be called, then you may be made to run in a circle between the same rooms and staff from morning to evening office closing time.

There are many chances that you will have wait in several queues just for a small progress in your case, the staff will ensure to break a sentence in their remark so that you will need to get on to the same queue again for having that completed, a typical bureaucratic functioning, of course you need to be there by 8:30 am or even before to get a token of reasonable number though they will start issuing only at a later time. I heard from one staff that there has been a 30% cut in workforce and they are fed up with the work load. To me it somewhat appeared that the number of people they are handling in a day is very huge but if that’s the case why they should be making people comeback again and again to them for the same issues. Pathetic is not the word for having wasted people’s precious time whole day at the passport office for a simple passport work.

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Speaking to me Kiran Fernandes of Kalpane/Kulshekar after completing his renewal of passport work at this passport office said, ” Very bad and pathetic service, sorry that I have to say about this PP office. Three to four staff to handle nearly 500 applicants makes people to wait and wait, and get frustrated. The first time I had my appointment, I went in at 11.45 am, got number 186 to see the staff, and waited for hours, before I came out at 5pm. I had to go back again for a document to be submitted which was not instructed to me earlier. The next day, I went in at 2.15pm, got 256 number, but through arguments/negotiations with the staff I managed to get out from that office at 4.30pm.”

Kiran further said, “This office can put anyone in inconveniences- the office space is too congested with so many people gathered in one place. I found out that there are not many exit doors in case of emergency. Someone who wants to have a coffee/tea or snacks at the canteen has to shell out some hard earned money- a coffee/tea costs Rs 25 and snacks prices vary from Rs 25 and above- a rip-off, I guess. There are constant arguments between customers and staff all the time pertaining to number allotment issues. The concerned authorities should appoint more staff, provide better facilities, better service etc, so that no one should go through all the hassels like I went through. I only hope this PP office will get better one of these days”.

NRI Sadanand from Muscat, who was coming out after finishing his passport/immigration related work after spending six hours at the office said, “You will be first made to stand in half a kilometer long queue in the humid weather, then once you enter the building the temperatures can even go up depending on the number of people inside the office, and in spite of AC/fans you will still sweat if you are not used to such kind of atmosphere. Also do not think of shouting or arguing with the staff, I felt like itching myself seeing their pathetic state of frustration for having to deal with PHDs to uneducated that too in so many numbers. Extra staff will go a long way to calm down people’s frustrations”.

Cheryl, yet another customer said, “There is some confusion about these numbers/tokens that the office issues. You should keep a watch on the TV monitors which display your token as it flows through the system. The tokens are assigned to counters automatically based on some heuristics, so, they cannot be biased (this is what I gathered after talking to some folks). But many customers get fumed over for the reason, that others number were called before theirs-because it depends on the nature of the service. People should be made known about this system, to avoid confusions and quarrels”.

Yes, sometimes there are customers who can’t handle patience and try to be rude with the staff- But in spite of that these staff are not willing to quit the job I suppose, one staff member (who was taking a break behind the office) who was apparently doing some good job in managing people said he needs to take 2 pills every day in the night to get sleep, well it looked like he was honest, but then his attitude towards people was that he is doing a great favor and thinks it’s his right to call persons by singular or even like an object. I think it’s always good to carry additional documents when you visit the PP office. These are marriage certificate, birth certificate, address proof etc. as you never know what you may need. According to my friend, the tatkal process is an unnecessary hassle especially from verification purpose and unless there is a real need for the hurry, you should apply in the normal queue.

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These are just a few problems among the many that people face when they visit the local Passport office. The concerned authorities/ministers/political leaders should waste no time in looking into all these hassles /inconveniences /problems that innocent applicants are facing once they are inside the PP office and thereby facing the moody and grumpy staff. I thought there would have been some improvement with the new government in force but the state of affairs here is far from a corporately managed service. Until we hear or see changes being made at the Passport office in town, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. God save us.

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9 Comments

  1. Great article.

    Author has mentioned the name of Mr Ivan D’Souza as someone who could help in the matter.

    Politicians make many claims and we believe them. But I doubt if Mr D’Souza is useful in the case of Passport service.

    Passport service is provided by the Central Government. So, if I am not mistaken, the state government can have almost no influence on how the service is provided. This is the kind of tussle that is currently going in Delhi between Kejriwal and the Central Government.

    I think a Central MP can perhaps do something when it comes to Passports, but not a State MLA/MLC. So, do not waste time in making requests to a State MLA/MLC for improvement in Passport service.

    • Mangal has a point. However if a clean MLA like Mr J R Lobo tries, things can work. Nalin Kumar also may be able to help besides Sadu Gowda.

  2. Now you know why tipping helps. It is not called bribing. It’s another way of saying “Job well done!”
    It’s called smart way of getting the job done right with a smile on the face.
    If you want a job done well and fast don’t you have to pay more?
    What’s wrong in tipping a low paid, overworked wage earner, especially when the basic needs are not met?
    Both are happy.

  3. My mother went through a similar situation last year when she had to get her passport renewed. She had an appointment at around 11 or 12 and by the time she was through it was 7:30pm. But she also noticed some people were given preferences without the need to have to wait at all. She believed they maybe people with connections. Will this situation ever improve?

  4. Great reporting by Alfie, on a issue that has made many people frustrated when they want their work done related to Passport. I too have faced lots of hassles at this office to get my passport work done.

    You folks are doing a good job on highlighting such isues to bring awareness among the concerned officials- great job alfi and the rest-keep up the good work.

  5. Alfie, I don’t know how you can write on vast topics that catch the attention of readers like me. I cant help but leave a comment every time.

    About 3 years back when coming on vacation a immigration officer pointed that my PP is damaged and I need to get a replacement. This was updated in their system when coming to India and there was no way I could go back until I renewed the PP.

    Since there is a PP office in Mangalore I thought it may not be a problem. One thing is that most problems can get resolved in the PP office instead of relying on the H.O. in Bangalore. Bad thing is the system or mechanism that is in place.

    I saw lot of people lined up outside typing centres to get an appointment. It has to be online. For those who do not know to operate computers have to rely on these centres.

    Secondly the system inside the PP office is quite good but in case if you want to enquire something there is no information desk but you have to rely on a small window outside on the right side of the building. So when you have modern facilities to come and sit inside this window where people have to bend and wait and ask questions again seems we are back in the 70s. Computer appointments and Window information cannot go hand in hand. The practice of window answering must be put to an end as it is uncivilized and there should be separate customer service room where people can come inside and resolve their issues face to face.

    I was forced to go to Bangalore and the situation there is actually much worse than Mangalore. Once you address a problem on a sheet of paper you are allowed inside. There are about 10 counters to inquire about your problem and trust me these 10 counters send all the people to just one counter where a struggling lady has to address the problem one by one. (it must the opposite actually where one counter must send people to 10 counters). This poor lady was helpful and promised she would sort out the issue in 5 days and kept my papers on her desk but since there was no reply after 2 weeks I was impatient and when I returned there I couldn’t believe that my papers were on her desk the same way I left earlier. Anyway she got it done quickly.

    I honestly believe to address these issues we do not require interference of politicians as bureaucrats in the respective field must take a lead and address these issues.

  6. The service is worst then the municipal office. No place to sit for senior citizens.

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