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12,169 passports await police verification in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: At a time when the demand for passports is increasing in the city, the police, who are tasked with clearing verification requests, have a whopping 12,169 requests pending before them.

This is only until April 8 and for this year alone. Of the 70,530 requests received, as many as 58,361 were completed in the first four months of this year. While a short-staffed Police Department struggles to surmount the requests from applicants, the Regional Passport Office, Bengaluru, which has already issued over one lakh passports this year, is giving out appointments in less than five days. Plans are on the anvil to bring the police verification time down from 22 days in 2014 to 10 days by year-end.

Getting an appointment for a new passport may have got shorter, but the next step — getting a police verification done — is still a long way off.

With the spiralling demand for passports in the city, there are over 12,000 applications pending before the city police for verification.

The startling figure was revealed by the Bangalore City Police on Tuesday on its social networking page. According to the note, a whopping 12,169 requests for verification were pending before the police by April 8. This figure is for this year alone, when as many as 70,530 requests were received.

The note also says 12 requests were pending in 2014, while all requests were disposed of the previous two years.

These statistics come at a time when the Bengaluru Regional Passport Office (RPO) is ready to dole out appointments in less than five days, bringing down the average waiting time for the entire process from the earlier 45 days.

The RPO also said the time taken to complete police verification has also been coming down from 43 days in 2013 to 22 in 2014, with a future aim of bringing the number down to 10 days.

However, an already short-staffed city police is doing the best they can, say the police. Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi told The Hindu there was no other go. “We just need to work harder as minimum verification is a must,” he said.

Admitting that the additional work of verification was a strain on the police set-up, resulting in a lot of personnel being overworked, Mr. Reddi said the only options before the top brass were to urge officers to wrap up the work as early as possible.

“In some cases, we also redeploy personnel where the demand is more and staff are less,” he added.

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