Passport Office – Part 4

The Fees queue in an adjoining hall was a joke. 25-30 people crowding around, and a person softly speaking the names – almost inaudibly. And if you did not show up then, your file went to the bottom of the queue and you were reprimanded if you asked questions. A mother of a young baby pleaded for her fees to be taken since the baby was crying – she was sternly told to wait till her name was called. I found it hard to believe we were in an India circa 2010.

It took 45 minutes of being squeezed and shoved around in that queue till I was finally able to pay the fees. If you are paying by 500- or 1,00- rupee notes, you have to write the serial numbers of the notes in a book along with your mobile number. This doubles the processing time, since almost everyone has atleast one of those notes.

I finally exited at around 5 pm. It was 5.5 hours since I had entered. The process should not have taken more than 30 minutes.

The irony of it was that people kept telling me that I should not have gone through an agent because “he takes care of everyone.” Presumably, people like us are rich lodes of money so the incentive is there to keep the system difficult so that we never even think of wanting to visit the passport office personally.

PS: I got my passport delivered home in a month. That too was a story in itself — had to go personally to the Speed Post office since they refused to give it to any other family member. As we say in India, “All izz Well – that ends well.”

8 thoughts on “Passport Office – Part 4

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I didn’t quite understand what you mean by the following:

    The irony of it was that people kept telling me that I should not have gone through an agent because “he takes care of everyone.”

  2. Something like this happening in Mumbai is surprising. I got my passport re-issued from Ghaziabad but it was more or less smooth.
    The bigger problem of inefficiency is something which needs to be addressed.

  3. Rajesh you forget time and again you are in India. At least these things keeps reminding you and i believe yourself wanted it.

    Time does not have any value in this part of the world.

    You could have told u own a big-software company to anyone of the gate-keepers…then everything would have been done before you park and get down from your car.

  4. Looks like you had to go through an “Office-Office” like situation.

    Saddest part is that we don’t feel outraged over this treatment. We dont feel outraged that our hard earned money goes into agents pockets for absolutely no reason. How are these things supposed to change ?

  5. We go through these situations every time we visit our government offices. One time, we had to wait for almost two hours for immigration entry, Chennai airport, on a hot summer mid night with out proper air flow…there were only few immigration officers to take care of a big crowd from many flights. They added few officers after the passengers complained many times!!

    Our government offices / officers are not there to help Citizens; they are there to help themselves from taxpayer’s money. Zero courtesy, zero accountability are their mantra!
    It is sad that things haven’t been improved much.

  6. Rajesh, there must be millions with these horror stories of experiences at passport offices throughout the country. Chennai RPO is no exception. They don’t even take the fees in cash! A few years I made the cardinal mistake of not applying for a British passport when I was eligible to do and now I am struggling to get my Indian passport renewed, having applied for it more than 2 months back.