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Staff crunch at passport office leaves students in lurch

A few students of the University of Pune may have to bear the brunt of an acute staff shortage at the passport office.

A few students of the University of Pune (UoP) may have to bear the brunt of an acute staff shortage at the passport office. A group of 10 students,who were to go to Germany in May for an exchange programme,may have to forego their month-long course as they are still in the dark about the present status of their passport applications.

Despite filing their applications in January,the students are yet to get their passports or any confirmation on when they are likely to get the passports. As per the norms,one should get a passport within 45 days after submitting the application under the normal prodecure and within 10 days under Tatkal (emergency).

Sneha Sharma,a student at the department of Foreign Languages of UoP,said,“Ten of us from various colleges are studying foreign languages. The course for which we are going is not part of the university’s exchange programme. We have contacted the German Institute through a teacher and after various processes,our applications were accepted. The course will begin in May,but we still don’t know when we will get the passports. Without it,we are not able to apply for our visas and thus the entire admission process is getting delayed. We may also lose the opportunity,if the process is not expedited.”

Asked about the issue,Regional Passport Officer T D Sharma said,“We receive more than 16,000 applications every month,but there is a lack of staff to process all the applications within the time frame of 45 days. We take at least 60 days to process all of them. In such urgent cases,people should go for tatkal applications,though one has to pay an additional Rs 1500,apart from the regular fees of Rs 1,000.”

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The passport office receives as many as 100 tatkal applications a day. Apart from the usual documents like birth records and residence proof,one will have to file police verification documents also,This often leads to the process being delayed. However,in case of these students,all such documents have been cleared.

“Fourty five days after the submission of necessary documents,we checked the status on the official website of the passport office. It said we would get passports in another 10 days. It later gave April 1 as the date of dispatch of the passports. Now,the site says owing to some procedural delays,it will take some more time. This time there is no mention about the deadline. The university examinations are to begin soon,so we cannot spend time at the office to pursue the matter. Even meeting the officials will take up an entire day,” said another student.

Dilip Rajguru,former head ofe the department of German,SP College,who helped the students with the admission procedure is of the view that such an exposure is important for students pursuing such courses as they need the cultural exposure,without which the understanding of the subject remains incomplete.

First published on: 11-04-2011 at 02:55:29 am
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