UNION MINISTER of State for Foreign Affairs E Ahmad today said that a massive drive had been launched to reduce pendency of passport applications in Uttar Pradesh.
He said the drive had yielded positive results during the last one month. He said effective measures had been taken to ‘eliminate’ touts at the regional passport office in Lucknow.
The minister, who was here to inspect the construction of a new building of the regional passport office in Gomti Nagar on Saturday, told Hindustan Times that the state government had also assured ‘quick police verification’ for issuance of passports.
He said as result of special drive the regional office had received 50,000 verifications from the police last month. Lauding the performance of the regional office, the minister said 25,000 applications were pending at the Lucknow office and 9,000 applications were being processed at Ghaziabad and Bareilly offices.
The minister said the Lucknow office had issued 17,000 passports in June. He said passport cells had been functioning in 14 districts and a cell had been opened in Lucknow to speedily process applications from these districts.
The minister said State Home Department, Director General of Police and district police chiefs had been asked to speed up verification process for quick disposal of applications.
Earlier, police verification took a long time but now, he said, it had come down to 35 days.
He said efforts were being made to further bring it down to 25 days. While last year the regional office had issue 1,52,000 passports, this year 82,500 passports had been issued so far.
Since this year there was long list of Haj pilgrims, the ministry had decided to open a new ‘Haj pilgrim’ counter from August 1. The minister said if the applicant brought police verification with himself the passport would be issued within a week. Referring to touts around passport office here, the minister said the issue had been taken up with the state home department and soon they would be nabbed.