Pune: If you are planning to take an appointment for any passport related work in the coming few days, then you may have to wait for a longer period as the Regional Passport Office has stopped releasing appointments as per the state government directive. This decision has been taken in order to control the unnecessary crowding at the Passport Seva Kendra in Mundhwa area.
The Regional Passport Office issues more than 500 appointments every day. However, the state government is wary of sudden crowding at the passport offices when the lockdown period ends in the city and state. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad cities are currently under strict lockdown of 10 days which ends on Thursday (July 23). Even if this strict lockdown is not extended, citizen and vehicular movement within the municipal corporation and district jurisdictions will remain regulated. Officials at the Passport office said that they are only following government orders and will review their decision as and when the state government decides to.
The Regional Passport Office had stopped its functioning after the nationwide lockdown was imposed in March. Recently, the central and state governments allowed government offices like RTO and Passport office to restart their operations on conditions of following social distancing norms and implementing other precautionary measures. Accordingly, the passport office resumed operations in June but due to relaxations given in lockdown, there was unnecessary crowding in the offices.
In the unlock phase 1, the passport officials had released only about 200 appointments. This was done to practically implement social distancing norms and ensure the safety of the office staff. However, the demand for additional appointments piled up and the passport office had to increase the daily appointment slots. In July this count had reached 700. With this huge number of applicants reaching the passport office, following lockdown norms had become difficult. Hence the decision to temporarily halt appointments was taken by officials.