Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tatkal Scam at Hyderabad RPO - Personal Experience

To the Ministry of External Affairs,

We have been trying to contact you through Speed Post, email and a networking site (Twitter) but since you prefer not to respond to our queries, thought will address all of you here. What I am going to describe is perhaps the most horrifying experience that citizens need to suffer to get a passport, a document I am entitled to in all respect. We have been trying to renew our passports through the Tatkal Scheme via the Hyderabad RPO but thanks to the efficiency of the system, even after a week we are nowhere.

Please explain to us what is the procedure at the Hyderabad RPO and why does it contradict with the information provided on the site. My friends have been asking me why I have not applied online as it seems to be a breeze in their respective cities. I don't know what to tell them. We did exactly what your Passport site tells us to do. We applied online, got an online token and was at the RPO in Hyderabad much before the stipulated time on Monday, 25 April only to find a huge queue for Tatkal applicants. On further enquiry, we found out that online tokens are not accepted in the Hyderabad RPO and people queue up for days to get a manual token.

We were approached by several local touts who claimed that they can get us past the cops into the hallowed precinct of the passport office for 4000 - 8000 rupees per person. Not willing to pay a bribe, we came back empty handed that day. The only other option was to stand in the queue so we went back at 2:00 AM the following night and waited for the passport gate to open at 9:30 AM. There were over 500 people in the queue and the passport office allows anywhere between 75 to 200 people everyday from the queue and the rest have to wait for their turn the next day even if they have to continue waiting for 48 hrs at a stretch. If they leave the queue and go home, they will again be relegated to the back of the queue so it is a hopeless situation. That day the office opened at 9:30 AM as usual for barely an hour and allowed around 50-60 people in before the cops came over at 10:30 smirking and happily telling the waiting crowd that the day's quota is over.

1. Why do I have to stand in a queue for such ridiculous hours in the open to get my own passport renewed?
2. Why are citizens harassed and treated like criminals at the passport office, both by officials and cops?
3. Why can't the passport office employ additional employees to meet the high volume of Tatkal applications?
4. Why should the local passport officer be given so much discretionary power that allows him/her to blatantly create processes that overlooks basic tenets of civilized dignity?
5. Why do they not allot dates so that people don’t have to wait for days for lady luck to strike and get an entry into your esteemed RPO?

Also, the RPO supposedly has to issue 300 tokens a day. However, after a 9 hour wait from 2 AM till 11 AM your office finally opens at 9:30 AM and closes at 10:30 AM allowing around 50-60 people in.

1. What are the number of tokens that should be issued and if the number is 300 tokens, what happens to the remaining tokens?
2. What are the actual working hours of the Hyderabad RPO when applications can be accepted? Is it only one hour?
3. How do you monitor the timings and productivity of the passport officials? Is there a register to keep track of the number of hours they put in and is there a minimum number of applications that they can each individually process?

According to this Times of India report, online tokens were stopped as the passport office website for Hyderabad was hacked into by agents. The article is attached here for your reference:

Now please let us know:
1. Why are agents and bureaucrats being given the chance to misuse the system?
2. Why is nothing being done to stop this nexus between agents and the officials inside?
3. Why should we pay a bribe for a passport that we are entitled to as citizens of this country?
4. In every other city, the Tatkal scheme seems to work. Why is this scheme so difficult for the people of the twin cities?
5. Why are citizens being harassed due to the misuse of the system by agents?

Would really appreciate if you can address this pathetic bureaucratic high handedness and mismanagement.

Another question my friends have been asking is why am I not submitting Tatkal application through e-Seva. Now Ministry of External Affairs, please explain why you do not accept Tatkal applications through e-Seva. Your site says "Tatkal applications must be submitted at the Regional Passport Office only after online registration." If there were more passport offices across Hyderabad or if you started accepting Tatkal applications in e-Seva centres, the load on the Hyderabad RPO would decrease and people would not have to wait for days in the queue. You can have a competent authority at all these centers to evaluate Tatkal applications.

So here are a few suggestions to increase efficiency:
1. Please have more employees in the Hyderabad RPO to process high volume of Tatkal applications.
2. Reintroduce a secure online slot allocation for entry into passport office.
3. Have separate queues for renewals.
4. Increase the application submission window to 4 hours or 1000 applications per day as opposed to whatever is the number now.
5. Open more passport offices across Andhra Pradesh and start accepting Tatkal applications across all e-Seva centres to reduce the load on Hyderabad RPO.

A citizen of India


Sandee said...

This should be published in a paper !

Shormila said...

Love it- u're in the wrong profession - go feisty Suchandra- u tell them

kiru said...

i so agree with you suchandra. it was a gruelling experience.waste of time ,energy and money. i finally made it into the office after 29 hours .while the heat,dust and pollution were bearable what killed the spirit was the uncertainity and helplessness ,especially to see officials pay no heed and be so indifferent to their duty.what they did best was to negotiate the best deal and allow only the highest bidder in while leave the rest ,which is a few hundred ,to the mercy of that narrow traffic crammed road! or perhaps they are too busy satisfying their satiety for saddism sipping cold drinks in air conditioned rooms ,complacent about their jobs and forgetting their real purpose and duty to serve people,enjoying others distress!! what a disgrace to the government !!

Cloudbrains said...

Fill like killing these f***rs and get this country rid of corruption. I have been through an experience of getting my passport renewed after 6 months of grueling experience and wondered why in this country, people have to suffer so much to get a passport which is right of every citizen.

Da Counselor said...

You are not alone. I have faced the same situation in RPO in a suburb of Mumbai (Kandivali).

Anonymous said...

This is indeed a terrible experience. It is sheer stupidity on part of the RPO. Btw, those 300 tokens per day - are they only for passport renewal alone? Or, do they include all sorts of applications? - ash.

Pinky Says said...

Well, its too deep rooted and will take sometime to change. As of now, still no response from anyone but I do hope some improvements happen so that nobody else is harassed the way citizens are troubled now. Hats off to you Kiran for sticking around for 29 hrs. People have to face such adversity in their own country for their own rights. Its pathetic.

Ash: The 300 tokens are for Tatkal only which includes new passport application and renewals. And since Tatkal app submission can be done only at the RPO...that is why the long queues and the agents misusing the system and so on...its like a chain. Dont know what else to do but we are still trying.

Siddhartha Rai said...

This is disgrace. I thought initially that you would be able to get the passport, but this is a horrifying tale, surprisingly in Delhi when I got my passport made and my wife's there were no glitches as such, it only took a month or so. I only paid the fees for passport.

This is the sorry state of India where state give passport to illegal immigrants, just for vote banks and is not able to issue one to it's citizens. This system of issuing passport is surely pathetic and needs to be reformed.

HP said...

Oh, we had the same experience at Bhubaneswar when we went to renew my wife's passport back in 2009. We took the online appointment and arrived 15 minutes before the allotted time-slot but we were told that the online time-slots don't work in Bhubaneswar RPO. I wanted to complain to the head of this office (a lady IFS officer) but I was told that I have to schedule an appointment for that. And to schedule an appointment I have to get a token from the enquiry counter! When I went to the enquiry counter, there was a queue of 200 people!! I gave up there and sent couple of emails to the RTI officers mentioned in the passport website and yet to get a reply.
By the way, we got the renewal done through a tout who charged us Rs1000/. As per his instructions we applied for normal renewal in stead of tatkal scheme and got the new passport in 3 days!

Kamal said...

Same experience here. I too want to renew my passport which has expired but I dont know how to go about doing that. I also came to know that of the 300-400 applications accepted each day only 100 or so are for regular applications and the rest are for tatkal. How can they promote the tatkal scheme so blatantly. Its just way of making more money for the government. It seems as told by most people that to renew a passport through regular process takes 4-6 months.

Name: Prabhat Nath said...

May be this should be sent to the News Channels (local and national) so that entire country can view the situation and see how lack of technology (RPO cant use technology to prevent misuse of online tatkal by agents)...

praveen said...

I neeed to renew my passport in tatkal.. who can help me in this?? I just cant tand for 9 hrs in the queue..

Pinky Says said...
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Pinky Says said...

You can try contacting agents to wait in the queue for you but from what Ive seen they also vanish and don't take it seriously n then you are again relegated somewhere at the back of the queue. We are going by the normal process now. Another thing is that we walked into an e-seva and came to know that if you have a valid visa even if you want to renew your passport by the ordinary process, it can only be done through the RPO or ESeva counter in other eseva counters...there should be a proper notice listing out the do's and don'ts...what each centre can do or cannot do coz we stood for 2 hrs in the eseva queue only to turn away disappointed as we had valid visas but that centre wouldnt process our application. Am just going with the flow now.

Anonymous said...

I agree this should be published in paper. Finally did you manage to get the passport? I am also a victim of the same cruelty. First day 2 hrs in the hot sun and second day 6 hrs but still no where.

Pinky Says said...

We finally went the normal way through e-Seva. Now the wait begins as it can take anywhere upto 6 months. TOI has complaints everyday in the papers regarding passports at Hyd RPO. Submitting the normal way was also a struggle. Went to Khairtabad e-seva only to find out it was closed as 2nd saturday. Next we went to SR Nagar e-Seva and their printer was down so they asked us to go to Banjara Hills GPO. There they told us to go to Khairtabad GPO. When we went there they said only Abids GPO. We finally reached Abids GPO to find no queue but before our excitement could die down the passport official smugly informed us that he will process only if we come at 6 am in the morning and sign our names. Bureaucrats! They just dont want to make it any easier for citizens and that person had no work but still he would not process. Anyways the following week we finally submitted at SR nagar e-seva. Now the wait begins.

Anonymous said...

We faced the same situation at Hyderabad.As my wife cannot stand in the queue we managed to get a broker to stand in queue and some how went to the counter only to be rejected as name was misspelt(didnt fill full surname).So the money is gone and work is not done.

Atleast they should show some mercy to ladies.

sam said...

Even i had a horrible experience at R.P.O Secunderabad.All are in this SCAM the constables,The S.I,The Agents,Inside Staff including the Canteen vendor. The TATKAL Scheme is a CASH COW for all the people at passport office.Every Thing comes for a HUGE price there.

Anonymous said...

Now a days it is possible to get the passport in 1-2 month in hyderabad. Here is the idea.

1. Apply for the passport in normal scheme.
2. Wait for the police enquiry.
3. After week of police enquiry go to Saifabad police station which is opposite to the prasad Imax and ask them to give you the police report receipt.
4. Approch the hyderabad passport office enquiry counter with that police report slip and some urgency proof.
5. Note that there is 250 person/day are allowed for enquiry at hyderabad passport office. You have to stay in queue from 6:00 AM.
6. The enquiry officer will check the status of your application.
- If police report is clear in their internal database ask them to give you an appointment to meet the APO.
- if police report is not clear in their internal database request them to feed the database asap. Note that without clear police report they can not give an appointment to meet the APO.
7. If you get an appointment to meet the APO your passport will be dispatched to you in weeks time if all goes well. There is a seperate queue for the Appointment people.. and that queue is not too long..

Pinky Says said...

Nice! I like such complex processes just to get a passport. :) Anyways, police vrfcation was done sometime in June and on their site it says passports were supposed to be dispatched on Aug 1st and its almost Sep total its been almost 4 months since the time we applied. The only thing I am hoping for now is an effective Lokpal bill like the one by team Anna where it says lower bureaucrats need to be covered too to avoid corruption n bring abt accountability n effectiveness so that ration cards are delivered within 3 days n passports within 15 days and without too much running around or bribes to all and sundry.

Pinky Says said...

And not everyone in Hyderabad falls under the Saifabad PS jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

1. The saifabad police station opposite to Prasad Imax theater is the only Passport verification cell opened by commisoner of police. You can get your clear police report receipt from there only.
You can also check the online status of police enquiry at:
1. For hyderabad
2. For cyberabad.

Another point to clarify is that:
* If online passport databse is showing the status that your police report is clear or your passport is expected to be dispatched by xxxx date then you do not need to take the police report slip from saifabad. This means that your clear police report is reached to passport office and they have the status updated in their internal database.

*** I agree that strong lockpal bill needed.

Pinky Says said...

Are u a passport official? Anyways, folks who are applying now for new pps or renewal can maybe check this route but why should they have to do all this running around is beyond my understanding...cant the system function without corruption by agents, passport officials, cops et al and minimum inconvenience to citizens? It takes us 1-3 days to get a US visa but months to get a passport in the country that we are born and reside in. Its shameful that we are held at the mercy of a corrupt govt and its officials. And if our passport is clear and its been a month, shouldnt we be rcving it by now? There is a prob with the system and we need to admit it and take steps to rectify it rather than giving more runarounds to the citizens for a document thats their birthright.

Anonymous said...

No i am not the passport official. I know all this information because recently i have got my passport through this route.

** This is to help the person who has already applied for the passport in normal schem and need the passport urgently ( week time).

Note that in banglore there is facility to convert the normal application to tatkal after police verification completed however same facility is not avilable in hyderabad.

I am completely agree with you that gov have to rectify/improve the system but you and we knows when they will do that :)

sneha said...

i need to now that weather i still need to take token wen i get a appointment

Pinky Says said...

Sneha: We all get appointments when you apply online. But that is not valid and you still have to go and wait in the queue at the RPO and hope and pray that you get a token the same day.

Anonymous said...

HI just want to check is there any seperate queue at RPO for infants under the age 2 or do they need to stand in the mornal queue for ages as u mentioned?

Pinky Says said...

There was only one queue for tatkal. Don't know whether things have changed now coz theres a new RPO Officer n heard they are trying to change things.

Anonymous said...

No improvement. The tout problem continues and standing overnight is the only way to get the Tatkal entry. It is funny that (alleged) criminals like Hasan Ali are able to get not one but two passports from the Hyd passport office while normal citizens are treated like criminals.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

here is my story. There is a new system intriduced for the passports in Hyderabad and other major cities i.e thru PSK which accept the applicantions who have a valid online token.

I am trying to book a tatkal slot for my son, this bullshit site developed by so called great TCS is never able to handle more than 2 users at a time, so I am not at all able to get the slot for it even after a month. I guess this site is also hacked like the earlier one. I really simple feel symapathy for the govt of India for not been able to provide the basic support for its citizens who r trying to live legally.

ppl r eating money like non veg in the form of scams and we claim to be one of the fastest growing nations, dont think so at all

Anonymous said...

Guys - The Passport Application submission process is simplified in twin-cities. You just need to register online, and the Appointments will be opened 7:30PM in the online system every day. So you need to take an online appointment and just go 30 min before your time. U can even go early . They will allow you. If you don’t get the tatkal appointment online either you can take normal appointment and submit the application as tatkal or you can directly go to PSK and ask for the appointment. I am not sure how much time it takes to get the passport. I will update you soon…

Anonymous said...

Hi all-

I would like to renew my passport (expired Jan 2012 and issued in Bangalore) urgently with my present address at Hyderabad. I am in urgent need as I need to appear for GMAT exam in Jun 2012.

Please let me know if I am eligible under the Tatkal scheme and if so what additional documents are needed apart from Old Passport in original (8017) and Proof Of Present Address (7001).


Anonymous said...

reached here to read this blog from google search bout passport renewal. I would just like to add my experience at Hyd - tolichowki a month ago. I only wanted to ask when my PP would be issued in tatkal (been 5 days). So I reach around 8AM, I guess it has improved now, got a token around 1030 in the queue. Around 1245, with 10 ppl ahead of me and 1PM lunch deadline lurking I was scared if i will make the cut. As I told the person next to me they would just move everyone faster now without much info as lunch is a priority for those folks instead of the ppl who have been waiting for 4-5 hours next to filthy, defecated walls outside the office. My fears came true as the PO just brushed me off saying I will get it soon. I was just dismayed why the hell I need to stand in queue for an enquiry? Left there shaking my head how I could be so stupid when my folks had suggested I should just talk to a broker :-) So much for not trying to bribe. Couple of days later go to the same place walk to a broker and with a nice dent to my wallet got the confirmation that my passport has been put for delivery. Easy. Right.

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