My tryst with passport office (part-2)

Remember where we had left it last time? A quick recap – after much difficulties and repeated visits to the RPO, I was able to submit the passport application and left the passport office with a sense of accomplishment.

Two months passed and I heard nothing from either the passport office or the police stations. That was strange as two police verification needed to be done – one at my current residence and another at previous residence. Just when I was about to lose all the patience I had, I got a call from my current address police station. But when I went to see meet the concerned officer, he wasn’t on duty. Anyhow, 3 calls and 2 days later, police verification was done. After few days, I got a call from my previous address police station. He asked me several questions about my present address, my previous address and associated timelines. I answered all his questions honestly. Nowhere he mentioned that I needed to come for physical verification (which is also not very logical as expecting someone to be physically present at his/her previous address is a bit too much of verification.) So, I assumed that verification was over and started waiting for my passport.

A month passed. No progress. I checked the application status on website and it said, “Your Passport Application is under review at passport office”

Another month passed. I checked the application status on website and it said, “Your Passport Application is under review at passport office”

Another month passed. I checked the application status on website and it said, “Your Passport Application is under review at passport office”

6 months passed. One of my colleagues, who had applied for passport two months back, received his passport after getting ‘professional help‘ from an agent!

One year after submitting application, I checked the application status on website and it said, “Your Passport Application is under review at passport office”. My colleague asked me to get ‘professional help‘, but I decided to file an RTI instead. The RTI was disposed off within 4 days and the reply was “Your application is transfer RPO Bhubaneswar xx/xx/xx.” Though I didn’t get any reply of the RTI from RPO, apparently they took some action. After more than a month of RTI, I got a call from them and they said that the police verification report from my previous address was ‘ADVERSE.’ I asked them what it meant! They said that in place of writing “The applicant lived at xx from xx/xx/xx to xx/xx/xx” they wrote “The applicant doesn’t currently live at this address” which was technically correct as it was my previous address and not the current address! But they needed that exact phrase on the verification file and re-initiated the verification process. After 4-5 days, I received a mail from passport office that police verification had been re-initiated on my previous address and I needed to get in touch with the police station. 

I did get in touch with them and they said I needed to come for physical verification. So, I had to go to my previous address and it was not once but twice! First time to the special branch and then to the regular police station.

I allowed a month to pass after completing the verification. And then started checking my application status. Guess what it read! The same old “Your Passport Application is under review at passport office”

So, I filed a first appeal on earlier RTI, with a request to update me on the status of my file. The reply I got was “Kindly furnish copy of your RTI query and reply by the CPIO of concerned RPO to enable consideration of your appeal.”

So, I decided to mail to RPO. The reply I received was

This is to inform you that application status can be tracked through the ‘Track Status’ link on our website: www.passportindia.gov.in, with the help of File Number and the Date of Birth, where status of applications keeps on updating regularly. As per the information available with us, your application is under review at Regional Passport Office (RPO), Bhubaneswar and you will receive the passport upon completion of necessary processing. You may contact the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Bhubaneswar in-person for necessary assistance regarding your concern. You may obtain information about RPO from the link:http://www.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/online/rpo. This is to inform you that applicant or his/her representative may also visit the RPO. The person representing the applicant should carry an authorization letter (On paper or FAX or Email) from the applicant.

As if I didn’t know how to track application status online! I tried to make them understand the problem by mailing them in detail about my problem. But they again sent the standard reply quoted above. It frustrated me to note that human being were employed and yet all we got was standard text in replies. I tried to call the numbers mentioned, but no one ever picked.

So, I filed another RTI and again the RTI was disposed off to the RPO without sending me any reply. I decided to give a month to RPO before taking any further action. 20 days later, I received a mail and a call and a SMS from passport office that my passport has been dispatched! Finally, happy endings!

PS: Many of my friends told me that there was an ‘alternate route’, but I wanted to see how it happens in the ‘normal route’ even though it meant postponing my GMAT appointment, missing on some exciting opportunities and a lot of mental strain.

#LessonLearnt – RTIs work. Thank you Rahul Gandhi 😛

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