Kolkata: Five new Passport Seva Kendras, including one in Kolkata and Sikkim, are expected to be set up by mid-2013, in partnership with country's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services, a top official said here on Saturday.
Regional Passport Officer, Kolkata, R Sivakumar said that the five Passport Seva Kendras would come up in Agartala, Gangtok, Kolkata, Kharagpur, and Siliguri.
"The Sikkim PSK should be functional by June next year and the others will follow suit," he told reporters here.
Passport Seva Kendras, an e-governance project of the External Affairs Ministry, are expected to speed up the process of issue of new passports to three working days, subject to police verification.
In October 2008, TCS had bagged the mission mode e-governance project, Passport Seva Project, from the MEA.     

He also said that applications for passports have increased by 30 per cent this year over 2011.
"So far in 2012, we have received 2.5 lakh applications, which is 30 per cent more than the previous year. Of that, 1.5 lakh have been issued, while one lakh applications are pending approval," he said.
Sivakumar added that police are taking an average of 44 days to complete verification for applicants.     

Further, to facilitate Haj pilgrims, the passport office has opened a separate enquiry counter for applicants and has alloted 200 slots for Haj applicants in Kolkata and 75 in Behrampur.
The last date for Haj applicants is January 15, he said, adding, "the office may extend the date."


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