Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bangalore Passport Office - New Improved

Continuing my previous post on the ordeal of applying for a passport in India. Considering I had an appointment for 3:39PM and at 4:13PM I am already back at my workstation, typing this blog, I'd say it wasn't an ordeal at all -- rather, it was a good deal.

Some observations:

1. The old passport office kept people standing for miles outside, under rain and sun. The new one lets you sit. Under rain and sun for the ones outside, sufficient seating in the Halls inside.

2. At Rs.20 for 4-wheeler parking, the moon-surface parking lot behind the building was a huge improvement and relief, compared to the old office. I wish they'd build Multi-level parking quickly in such prime areas. The parking space is never going to be enough!

3. "Online Applications" are submitted on the first floor. The room is designed like the US Visa consulate, except leg-room between rows is better here. A token system was in place. I registered online last week, so all I had to do was wait for the token to be called. Ironically, many people do not turn up for the appointment, so the token was called 10 minutes early.

4. A Holy Trinity mans the counters. When your number is called, the first one checks whether all papers are in order and retains the application. The lady next to him verifies the information in the application against original documents. Finally the third one accepts the payment and gives a receipt. In my case, old passport was returned after "Cancelled" stamping.
All three were pleasant, polite and spoke English. (Am I in a dream?? But it was true!!)


Some gaffes:

1. The system is still confusing for newbies. Saw many urban ladies and rural families wandering aimlessly.
My View: Have couple of executives wandering WITH them, to assist and guide people. The security guy could do it, but they do nothing... not even make us feel secure!

2. SpeedPost will deliver the new passport and only to the residential address. The RPO still lives in a world where your wife would obviously be home to collect the courier!
My View: Allow for "delivery address" to be different from the residential address on passport. How will this cause any security breach??

All in All?

So far it has been a painless exercise. I commend the RPO for taking the right steps and wish that, for all our sake, they succeed in making this as easy as opening a bank account.

For now, I must wait for the delivery by Speed-Post and/or run around for collection of the courier (since no one at home all week, high probability that it will be returned). Then, of course, starting the process all over again for Bumpy's passport.

Aaaarghhhhh

UPDATE on AUGUST 2

I must blog that my experience has been pretty good with the RPO. The application itself was well regulated using Internet registration. The delivery was done promptly within 20 days of applying. Since I was not at home, the speed post guy left a note. I was able to collect the passport from Speed Post office within 5 minutes this morning. So relieved to see they had not made any typo or other silly errors.

These instances provide some semblance of living in a developed country. Feels great when that happens!!

4 comments:

Faiyaz said...

The security guy could do it, but they do nothing... not even make us feel secure!

Another sixer!!!!

Keep writing.

Vidooshak said...

thanks Faiyaz-dude. u r super inspirational :-)
[blush blush]

Just like that said...

Lol at the gum!
But yeah, amazing that passports are not the headache they once were.
There is hope yet! For all our other headaches...

Just like that said...

btw, what's with all these posts on passports and visa's ? R u guys moving?? :-( Doesn't really make much of a difference- we've not met, and we can still correspond even if you went to the moon with the wonder that technology currently is, but still.. :-((

Why don't u ask your wife to respond to comments on her blog, before she gets lumped with Bumpy, and will only have time to clean up after potty, burps, drool, snot... just kidding you, guys! :-D