For the benefit of the common citizens, I am going to share my experience here on my date with Bengaluru Passport Seva Kendra, Lalbagh.
Passport Type: Normal
Application Mode: Online
June 27, 2015: Filled out application form for Fresh Passport. All went well. Even got SMS from the Passport Dept about the appointment scheduled for June 29, 2015.
June 29, 2015: As per scheduled, I arrived at the Passport Seva Kendra, Lalbagh. One has to go through three counters (Counter A, B and C).
+Long queus in four lines at the Token counters
+Despite the appointment being at 10:15 am to 10:30 am, got inside the application centres only at 11:15 am.
+ At Token Counter, Necessary documents were checked. Did photocopy of bank passbook. All seems fine as per the lady who was all smiles at the desk.
+ At Counter A, photograph, finger prints and original documents were verified. The attendant was young lady – smart and informative.
+ At Counter B, I was told to represent the original documents again. Problem starts here. The senior lady who don’t look so happy as the the other two ladies we encountered with asked for:-
1) Educational qualification proof: I produced my Master Degree in Journalism & Journalism certificate certified by Mangalore University. This was not good enough. She wanted to see all the original marksheets from Class X to Master Degree level !!! ()
2. Transfer Certificate: She also asked for School/College Transfer Certificate! This is impossible to produce especially when you are no longer studying and you are already a professional who no longer wish for further studies. And the very fact that such certificates are not mentioned as required documents for proof of educational qualification. I said, this is not possible on my part. She seemed agitated on being question. But, she gave in.
3) Bank statement for 1 year: As far info published by the Passport Department, such detailed transactions were not mentioned. The sole purpose of producing a bank passbook is to proof one’s address! If the Passport department wants to know transaction details, why not refer my PAN details which is already with mentioned in the application form.
Again, On this, I gave in and agree to produce one year statement as I have nothing to hide. But, it is going to cost me another day.
EXIT AND MY OBSERVATION
The time spent on the whole process was about 5 hours. Walked out of the exit door – hungry and bemused at how some government officials have little sense of common sense 🙂 If a person can produce legit Master Degree certificate by a certified university, why the need for showing every years’ mark-sheet right from Class X?
(Your opinion on the issue would be really helpful)
Day 2: July 1
Appointment was fixed at 9:45 am. Wednesday being “not so busy” day, according to the attendants, was somewhat much more relaxing.
Waited for 1 and 1/2 hours after getting Day 1 acknowledgement card that still bears the same token number. When my number was flashed on the LDC display, I went in to the Counter B, only to be told that I need to take a fresh Token number. Went to get the fresh Token at Counter 6 and it was N 311 ! This means I had to wait for 310 people to complete the document vitrification process.
Finally, my number came up. Went to Counter B and the lady today was in good mood. Cracked some jokes but told me to scan the bank passbook along with the entire bank statement. Today, she did not asked for the Transfer Certificate! 🙂
Counter B to Counter C: Counter C deals with another verification process, by another senior official. Waited for half an hour and when my number came up I rushed as the Kendra’s lunch time was just 5 minutes away. The senior lady took my documents, glanced at it and made some entries on her computer. Without speaking a single word, she nodded in a way of saying all is fine. So, I got up, thanked her (no reply either) and went to the Exit Counter to get Acknowledgement Card.
Relieved that the first state of my experience at a Passport Kendra was over, I called up my wife and asked her to prepare nice lunch! 🙂
Day 3: POLICE VERIFICATION
No date has been given for this by the office…but some say, the men in khakhi will turn up at my doorstep within a week, at most in two weeks.
July 21/2015: Three weeks have passed and still no policemen arrived at my given address to verify the residence. I’m being compelled to visit the police station. I will do it on July 22, 2015. Let’s see what happens.
DAY 4 to Day 30:
Got SMS from Hennur Police to present myself
I took my passport token ID receipt along with photo copies address proof, ID proof and two passport size photos.
AT the police station Inspector Raghavendra asked me to produce my marriage certificate and bank account statement for one year (I had the first document but did not know why I was asked bank statement again).
Anyway, I obliged. He then told me that he was coming to my address in the evening to verify the address. I replied that I will not be at home since I have to go to the office. I promised to submit the bank statement the next day.
In the evening at about 6 pm, i got a call from him stating that he was at my layout and he enquired about the exact location. I told him that I was at the office (newspaper), so he said it was OK and he will just esquire my neighbours to verify if I actually stay at the given address. He also told me to get three more documents: 1) Neighbour’s certificate and 2) Age proof and 3) All my marksheets from Class X to Master Degree. I said ‘Fine’ and told him that I will submit them the next day.
Day 32: 4 pm, Aug 1, 2015
Went to the police station with all the documents Inspector Raghavendra asked me to bring along.
He was seated with one person and gestured me to sit in the vacant chair. He recognised me immediately …may be because of my unique looks 🙂 I handed him over the papers. He examined them carefully and smiled. I asked him if all was fine. He said “Absolutely!” with a huge grind. I said “sir, if that’s all, can i leave now?” He said, “Sure.”
I went straight to the parking and immediately drove to my office. Later, looking back at the last two days and what my friends told me about many policemen demanding ‘prizes’ for their ‘efforts’, I am a bit confused as the policeman was smiling away in my case! Had he gone through my file and saw ‘Press/Reporter’ mentioned in one of my IDs? I’m not sure!
Now, I think I can sit backand wait for the travel document (i guess all is fine, as per the officer). I just hope, I will not be spending extra money on, what many people called ‘prize’, ‘cost of efforts’, ‘chaipati’ or simply ‘bribe money’.