A decade or so or even until a few years back, going to any kind of government office would seem to be an ordeal. We all know why, I need not elaborate. In the past 5 years or so, however, things have changed for good. The regional passport offices in India and the services they provide are slowly and steadily transforming into high-efficiency and quick response workplaces. I recently had a great experience at the regional passport office in Pune. I must admit that I was taken aback, albeit in a very pleasant way. Here is how my rendezvous went, after I completed a part of the passport application process, online.
Organization All The Way
Organized process right from the word go, was one thing which struck me this time around. Right from the gate of the office building, it was organization all the way. The guard asked me about the proof of appointment and then let me in. Once I was in, I saw a hall where there a number of counters at the far end and a photo copy machine just as soon as you would enter the room, on your right. So I went and stood in the queue. I hardly got any time to breathe, as my turn came in a jiffy. They checked my documents, told me I would need to give them a copy of the passport. I got it immediately and stood in the queue again. This time, I was cleared and was given a token number with the bunch of my documents. I was all set to enter the main area where all the processing would be done. There was no chaos, no hassle, nothing. The process at the regional passport office in Pune was real smooth.
In a Flash
Once I had the token number, they had made it extremely easy to navigate through the process which comprised of three stages. My documents were checked again and the information I had originally entered when I applied online was crosschecked on their system. A photo and fingerprint session followed. That done, I was instructed politely, and with a smile to go for the next stage. This was done in around 5 to 8 minutes. I was astonished, once again at the quick turnaround time and moved on. The passport service centres in India had surely evolved and how.
The Next Step
My token number was my guiding light as I once again waited outside a section of cubicles for my turn. I was prepared for this and thought to myself, “and now, I wait.” I had one eye on the electronic display for the number and another on the pages of my book. Another shock when my number was displayed hardly around 15 minutes into my taking a seat in the hall. My documents were checked again here. I was ushered to go the next and last stage of the process.
The Last Line
It was for the last review that I had to wait a little bit more. Took around 20 to 25 minutes till my number flashed and I could go in and well, come out, within a minute, I think. Out I came, feeling amazed and totally triumphant. I checked my watch and I realised I was done in an hour. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach after I had completed my passport application online and had got the appointment. I was certainly prepared to spend more than that. But voila! Here I was, without sweat and creases to my forehead, happy as hell.
I got another jolt when I got a message about police verification too, within a few hours of my visit to the regional passport office in Mundhwa. One more thing which struck me about the office was the cleanliness and the orderliness. In fact, if you understand basic English and can read numbers, you would not even need anyone’s help. Although the officials were helpful and pleasant in their demeanour. Everything was clearly defined right from the time you entered to the time you got out.
The passport services in many cities in India are undergoing a transformation which is a welcome step. It is the need of the hour too, with the humongous number of people travelling outside the country and coming in. This will also lead to a boost in tourism as the tourists would certainly not hesitate to approach the regional passport offices in case of any problem. All in all, I was extremely happy. Now I am awaiting my brand (re)new passport! Thanks guys for the fantastic service at the passport office!