Amritsar, Jalandhar to have smart chip passport facility
The Jalandhar and Amritsar regional passport offices are among the 12 passport offices in India that will get the smart chip passport facility under the first phase of the project to revamp passports.The new passport booklets will have enhanced security features.
Other regional offices to get the facility in the first phase are Chandigarh, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Bareli and Bhopal.
Thirteen passport offices will receive the passports in the second phase and 24 in the third phase of the project. The government intends to cover all 36 regional passport offices in India within this financial year. The facility will also be made available to embassies and consulates abroad.
At present, passports are printed and laminated at the central Indian passport printing systems (CIPPS) installed at Patiala House in Delhi and are sent to embassies and consulates by post, where they are stamped and handed over to the applicants.
Now, the National Informatics Centre Services Incorporated has empanelled a Standard Trading Company that will send printers and laminaters for smart chip passports to the regional offices.
Regional passport officer Harmanbir Singh Gill said though the ministry of external affairs is revamping passport booklets, the old booklets will still be valid. “People need not panic about this new development as they will get a new booklet at the time of renewal,” said Gill.
“Printing of new smart chip passports is expected to begin by mid-April,” he said. “The chip will hold the same information as passport booklets. These booklets will be comparatively smaller in size, have finer quality paper and a strong cover embossed with pictures of historically significant places in India.”