Guwahati, April 17: A passport service centre opened in the city Tuesday to handle the growing number of applications from the northeastern region.
The Passport Seva Kendra, set up by the Ministry of External Affairs and IT company Tata Consultancy Services, will make passport services more efficient, transparent and accessible.
The new centre would take the pressure off the Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Guwahati, which handled applications from Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, said Muktesh Pardeshi, MEA joint secretary and chief passport officer.
Tripura, the other northeastern state, is under the Kolkata RPO.
The demand for passports in the region had gone up over the years, said T.A. Changson, regional passport officer for the northeastern region. “The Guwahati RPO, set up in 1979, issued just 1,732 passports in 1980. However, in 2011, the numbers went up to 54,483. In 2010, the RPO issued 3,728 passports a month. Last year, it was 4,540 passports a month,” he said.
The new centre had a three-tier security system to stop passport frauds, he said.
It also had a call centre and offered online services for inquiries coming in from the six states, said Rajesh Dogra, TCS’s operational head. “Currently, the call centre offers services in Assamese and Manipuri. However, we are going to add more regional languages to the service,” he said.