Endless queues, long periods of waiting and poor facilities can make visits to government offices an unpleasant and boring necessity. However, with the addition of several new amenities, the Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Pune may soon change how citizens experience the passport application process.
Regional Passport Officer Atul Gotsurve had a library set up at the RPO to keep waiting visitors engaged. Pic/ Mohan Patil
The RPO has undergone a facelift of sorts, with the addition of a new library and LED televisions in the waiting area. Explaining his vision behind the makeover of the RPO, Regional Passport Officer Atul M Gotsurve said he had found that applicants visiting the passport office had to wait a while until their work was completed. “Instead of getting bored, they can now watch television, which will keep them in a happy and jovial mood during the wait,” he said.
“Flat screen televisions have been stationed in the sitting hall of the RPO, where applicants can comfortably watch TV from their chairs.” “A state-of-the-art drinking water dispenser has been placed at one of the corners of the building. A well-stocked library has been set up, with books ranging from latest bestsellers, to books on governance and fiction,” Gotsurve added.
Waiting passport applicants can pull out any book of their choice, make an entry in the official register and then read it while they wait for their turn at the office. “These changes were much-needed to engage and reassure the applicants, who already come with a lot of apprehension regarding the passport application. We want to give them a feel that we are professionals, and they will get the best value for their money invested. Besides, the library will also promote reading culture,” Gotsurve explained.
While the library and televisions will make the RPO premises more inviting to visitors, the office on Senapati Bapat Road is also undergoing another major transformation online in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services, to increase the efficiency of the Passport Seva Kendras.
The changes, being made at the behest of Gotsurve, are aimed at making the otherwise nondescript government office more friendly to visitors. The RPO makeover is part of a series of changes that Gotsurve began to make since he took on the mantle of the Regional Passport Officer two months ago.
Gotsurve is the first officer from the Indian Foreign Services (IFS) to head the Pune office. Aside from the facelift at the RPO, the Mundhwa passport office has been fitted with new water dispensers, as well as green mobile toilets for visitors. Gotsurve is also in talks with local civic bodies to build canopies in the Mundhwa compound to make it more comfortable for applicants who often have to wait in the sun. “We will provide a shed that will come up by the end of this month. Soon we will also have separate washrooms for male and female applicants,” said Gotsurve.