Long delays in online appointments with RPO irk applicants

Apr 05, 2013, 04:13 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

There is no end to the woes of passport applicants in the city who are seeking online appointments with Regional Passport Office (RPO).

The applicants have to wait for several months to seek an appointment to verify their documents at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Mundhwa. The online appointment system had started in 2011 in the city. However, instead of helping, the system continues to haunt the passport seekers.

Girish Deshpande had to wait for almost two months to get an appointment for renewing his son’s passport. He was trying to get an appointment since November last year but he could finally renew his son’s passport in January.

Never-ending wait: Applicants wait in a serpentine queue for verification of necessary documents required for a passport outside the regional passport office in Mundhwa

“Every day I used to sign in on the suggested website by Union External Affairs Minister for an appointment to renew my son’s passport. But all I got was the message that no time slots were vacant for the day,” said Deshpande.

Similarly, IT professional Pavan Mirji has been trying hard to get an online appointment since a week.
“The appointment slots close in a minute. In the last week, I logged on exactly at 12 pm, which is the time given by the RPO but in vain. Finally it took me a week to get an appointment for me, my wife and son for document verification. However, as we got appointments on three separate days, we have to visit the office, that is quite far from my home, thrice,” said Mirji.

Previously, the time for online bookings was 3 pm. However the decision was taken in the last week to change the time to 12 pm after the citizens complained about the inaccessibility of the website during that time. However, it seems that the move has hardly helped ease the process for applicants.

Reasons for delay
“The mass booking of online appointments by agents is one of the important reasons due to which the applicants are not getting appointments for several months,” said Co-Convener of Pune Passport Grievance Forum (PPGF).

The high-level delegation comprising officials of Union External Affairs Ministry are likely to visit RPO in the next week and the forum was hoping to get the issue solved. When contacted, RPO Shakuntala Rane said that she received such complaints and she forwarded them to the higher authority. 

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