No passport facility in Patiala anytime soon, says ministry
Residents of Patiala and neighbouring districts in Malwa region will have to wait longer to be able to get passports without travelling to Chandigarh or Ludhiana as the Union ministry of external affairs has stated in a reply submitted in the Parliament that it has no immediate plans to open a Passport Sevapunjab Updated: Mar 15, 2016 09:49 IST
Residents of Patiala and neighbouring districts in Malwa region will have to wait longer to be able to get passports without travelling to Chandigarh or Ludhiana as the Union ministry of external affairs has stated in a reply submitted in the Parliament that it has no immediate plans to open a Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in the city.
The reply came from minister of state for external affairs VK Singh in response to a question put up by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna. The minister, however, stated that the ministry was exploring a long-term plan to provide such a facility in the city in near future.
Khanna’s question gains relevance as several towns of Malwa region, including Patiala, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Barnala, have been demanding easily accessible passport facility for long, as Majha and Doaba region are better placed as compared to it.
Although Patiala is suitable for opening a passport office due to its central location and connectivity with several towns of Malwa region, nothing has been done so far in this direction, even as former Patiala MP Preneet kaur has remained in the external affairs ministry in the previous United Progressive Alliance regime.
While assuring to look in to this matter, VK Singh stated that the government has received a few requests from elected representatives and public figures for opening a PSK in Patiala.
“The ministry is working on a long-term plan to provide better and faster services to passport seekers across the country. It has initiated the process to engage an agency to conduct a comprehensive study for Passport Seva Project Version 2.0, including exploring the possibility of opening more PSKs across the country. The recommendation of this study will be considered once the current contract of the Passport Seva Project expires in June, 2018,” he stated in his reply.
Local BJP leader Gurtej Singh Dhillion said while the ministry had ruled out the immediate demand, but he was happy to know that the proposal was under consideration of the ministry. “We will definitely push for expediting it further,” he said.
Talking to HT, city mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj said: “Malwa is the largest area in the state in terms of demography and a passport centre in Patiala besides one in Bathinda will definitely serve the area residents well.”
Sanjay Kumar, a Patran resident, said a passport facility was required in Patiala as both Chandigarh and Ludhiana centres were too far from here.