Passport troubles in Pune: One agent assures online appointments for Rs200

Naresh Kevalramani, a passport applicant from Pune has been seeking appointment online for the last whole week but did not get it. He has been assured an appointment by a passport agent. Will TCS and the Regional Passport Office still blink despite this evidence?

The trauma of getting an online appointment after an applicant has filled his online application form for getting his new passport or renewing passport continues to haunt citizens in Pune.

 

While the efforts of the Pune Passport Grievance Forum (PPGF) has resulted in sporadic efficiency, the overall dismal picture of online appointments evading the applicant for weeks, the pre- and post-police verification issues continue. Similarly, the “hell care” attitude of citizens at the Passport offices run by the ministry of external affairs and the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) respectively has also been reported.

 

Following is an example of a forthright citizen Naresh Kevalramani, who has applied for renewal of the passports of his wife and son, but has not been able to get his appointment online since the past week. Finally, a passport agent assured him an appointment. Kevalramani has shown guts as a citizen to come out in the open and forward the email of the passport agent, instead of keeping quiet and getting his personal work done through these means. If many more Kevalramanis come out in the open, exposing passport agents, it could make a difference.

 

Kevalramani has been writing these emails to me in my capacity as the Convener of Pune Passport Grievance Forum. Reply to his emails and subsequently his emails to me have been copied to senior officers of TCS—Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Pradipta Bagchi, Ashis Babu and Manoj Raghav, as also to Muktesh Pardeshi, Chief Passport Officer; Shakuntala Rane and Regional Passport Officer. However, none of them have had the courtesy to reply.

 

Finally Kevalramani wrote to a passport agent called Sahil:

“On 2/26/13, Naresh Kevalramani <[email protected]> wrote: Hi Salil, Can you help me to book appointment for PSK Pune.

Kindly inform the charges.

Regards,

 

Sahil writes: From: SahiL <[email protected]>Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 11:29 PM

To: Naresh Kevalramani <[email protected]>

Subject: Re: PSK Appointment

Thanks for your mail. Sir i can book an appointment for you at Pune PSK, for this the charges shall be Rs200, and you have to pay this amount after the booking of appointment, payment options:-

SBI & AXIS BANK, by net banking or directly deposit to these banks account.Plz. Reply ASAP”

 

I have forwarded this mail to the TCS and MEA’s passport authorities stating: “Oh my God—this is shocking Nareshji. Mr Raghav and Ms Rane could you please take immediate action on this agent? If not, it means there is a nexus between your employees and agents who are TOTALLY ILLEGAL!

Vinita

 

The following mail trail between Kevalramani and me reveals the trauma passport applicants face:

From: Naresh Kevalramani <[email protected]>
Date: Monday, February 25, 2013 3:26 PM

For the last one week, I am trying to get the appointment for passport application filled in for my wife and son (case of passport expiry). I find that the appointment are begun to be allotted around 3 pm and within 4 to 5 minutes all slots become full and the system is shut down. 

I do not understand as to how I can get an appointment. I am trying for the last one week but unable to get the appointment. Twice I was successful but as soon as I selected the timing, I was logged out. Kindly help. 

Best Regards, 

Naresh.”

 

My reply/forwarded to Regional Passport Officer, Shakuntala Rane and Kevalramani:

“Dear Mrs Rane,

Please find below a complaint by Mr Naresh Kevalramamani who is not getting his online appointment. I am asking him to ‘walk-in’ at your office. Please do the needful

cheers and warm rgds

Vinita

 

Dear Mr Kevalramani

Please visit the Passport Office, Senapati Bapat Road, during working hours of any working day and get your appointment there.  I suggest you visit the passport office and meet Ms Rane, Regional Passport Officer or Ms Arora, Assistant Passport Officer, both of whom are very open to addressing complaints and will surely give you an appointment immediately. You may call Ms Rane or Ms Arora on 020-25675419. If you don't get thru her landline no. you may call Ms Rane on her cell no 08xxxxxx2.

All the best,

Vinita”

 

Kevalramani’s response to me:

“Hi Vinita, 

 

Thanks for your prompt response and support. 

 

I again tried today to get the online appointment. I was online since 2.45 pm on my broadband connection at home which is a AIRTEL 2 MBPS speed connected to my computer (Apple Mac Book Air) so no hardware or software issues. Only one laptop connected to the connection. 

 

Today, I selected the time of 12.30 to 12.45 pm for 05 March and when asked to put in the confirmation code I put in the same and waited for the appointment confirmation. Instead of getting the confirmation I was logged out of the system. The system closed at 3.04 pm saying that all appointments are full today. So in effect one gets only 4 minutes to book the appointment which is impractical and unrealistic. 

 

The same thing has happened twice before and I do not understand what type of a system this is built by TCS. 

 

In fact when the application form is submitted on line the appointment should be given, the appointment can be for a later date say 15 or even 20 days later. Trying to get the appointment is becoming a daily ritual with no success. 

 

I see a number of people who have been marked a copy of this mail. Can we citizens of India expect a realistic and practical system of working rather than this 4 minute slot everyday. 

 

Await response from any one of the above people who have been marked copies and are part of the system. 

 

Best Regards, 

 

Naresh”



My appeal to TCS officials since e-governance is their responsibility:
 

“Dear Mr Bagchi and Mr Raghav
This is a very serious problem and common occurrence. Pl immediately address this problem. Please treat this as SOS
Rgds
 

Vinita”


Kevalramani writes to TCS officials with cc to me:
 

“Dear Mr Bagchi and Mr Raghav, 

 

Though I am not a software engineer but an avid user of Internet since the last 15 years and use the net extensively for banking, online air and rail ticket booking, bill payments, etc. 

 

Nowhere, I have seen such a system wherein the user makes the selection (in this case the appointment time) and is immediately logged out or that slot taken by some other individual. Even for airlines/ trains/ cinema tickets, I recollect that the slot (reservation) is available for 5 minutes for the user to confirm and proceed ahead with the payment. 

 

Anyway, I am an individual and will somehow manage to get the appointment by personally meeting the passport officers but as a system, this needs a drastic improvement to make it user friendly and instill confidence in the citizens that passport application process is an easy process and not a pain, as currently it is. 

 

Regards, 

Naresh”

 

My reply with cc to TCS officials addressed in Kevalramani’s mail:

“Yes, many passport applicants are frustrated at this inability to get appointments. I urge the RPO and TCS officials to check whether there is an alleged nexus between the agents and employees of the Passport office. How is it that agents can assure appointment and get it done immediately? I am sure this is not rocket science and if TCS has the will, it can immediately solve the problem. This is sheer citizen harassment.

Please take action, Sirs.

rgds

Vinita”

 

Kevalramani after trying for an appointment again, writes a mail to me:
 

“The same sequence of events happened today….

 

I selected a time slot of late noon hours  and filled in the security code (the alpha numeric code seen on the captcha), immediately after this the system logged me out and on the second attempt to login and get the appointment, all appointments are booked. 

 

The system was open for exactly 4 minutes. 

 

Can somebody from TCS advise and tip me on the trick to get the appointment ???????

 

Regards, 

 

Naresh”


Finally Kevalramani writes to a passport agent called Sahil

 

“Hi Vinita, 

 

Pasted below the correspondence I had with one of the agent who has openly posted on a website saying that he can manage appointment for any PSK in India. 

 

I asked him his charges and sent him a mail yesterday evening which was promptly replied by him confirming the charges at Rs 200 for each appointment made by him. Payment to be made after the appointment is booked. 

 

You can also send him a mail and ask him his charges. 

 

Regards, 

Naresh”

 

Read related stories here:

Inordinate delays at Pune Passport office; RTI applications rejected

Pune Passport Grievance Forum: Participants blame TCS for delay in getting their passports on time

While Pune Regional Passport Officer assures easing procedures, TCS hides but cannot escape

We are not bound to give your passport in the 45-day period, says India’s Chief Passport Officer
 

(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

Comments
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7 years ago
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vijay
9 years ago
to the respected author of this post , and post related to passport issue .
Mam, i have been trying to get appointment to submit my application form , but it has been months and i am unable to submit the application ,
no matter how early i start in the end i get the same error message ,
the message state 500 appointments books , all slots full try next day .
what can be done regarding this non sense ? Is there anyway to fight with these kind of problem ? Kindly help me and guide me how can I fight with these autocracies of agency .
PRADEEP SATHYE
Replied to vijay comment 9 years ago
I HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN GETTING APPOINTMENT ONLINE BUT WITH GREAT DIFFICULTY. TWO OF US SAT, LOGGED ON TO THE SITE. WE ADJUSTED OUR WATCHES TO THE TIME AS ON THE SITE, AND AT EXACTLY SHARP 3.0 PM WE HIT THE KEY. THEN THERE WERE THREE CAPCHA TO BE DONE. I WAS READING THE CHARACTERS AND THE OTHER PERSON WAS TYPING IT FAST.I MANAGED TO GET THE APPOINTEMENT. I DID NOT BOTHER WHAT WAS THE APPOINTMENT. JUST ACCEPTED AND ON 5TH MARCH I GOT APPOINTMENT FOR 12 THE MARCH BRAVO RATHER EUREKA THAT IS WHAT I SHOUTED.
THIS WAS ONLY FOR ONE APPOINTMENT WHEN I TRIED FOR ANOTHER APPOINTMENT IT WAS ALL OVER.FULL IN THREE MINUTES.
I AM READY TO TAKE THE LEAD AND LET US MARCH TO TOI AND EXPRESS OFFICE AND RAISE THIS ISSUE.
PLEASE LET US COME TOGETHER SAY SOME 50 STRONG GROUP AND PLAN IT FOR NEXT THURSDAY.
MY EMAIL ID IS [email protected].

anyone can contact me on 9422513200 or 9158004292



Ashok
9 years ago
Its sheer lack of will and wrong intentions behind such crap system. Otherwise it can be hard to put a better and more functional system in place. See the PAN card system, where ever govt need a spy eye to monitor us they are very efficient, for rest of things its pathetic & limpy
like old dog.
Ashok
9 years ago
I like many more others have had similar sequence of events with booking appointment at Pune PSK, but a successful booking
still eludes me. Meanwhile I contacted an agent in Kharadi Pune who promises to book me an appointment at a fees. Of-course I don't want to go though him.

Let me know if more details are needed. What I would want is this nexus be exposed and a better system be placed. An automatic appointment at the time of online application filling can be an option.
PRADEEP SATHYE
Replied to Ashok comment 9 years ago
I HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN GETTING APPOINTMENT ONLINE BUT WITH GREAT DIFFICULTY. TWO OF US SAT, LOGGED ON TO THE SITE. WE ADJUSTED OUR WATCHES TO THE TIME AS ON THE SITE, AND AT EXACTLY SHARP 3.0 PM WE HIT THE KEY. THEN THERE WERE THREE CAPCHA TO BE DONE. I WAS READING THE CHARACTERS AND THE OTHER PERSON WAS TYPING IT FAST.I MANAGED TO GET THE APPOINTEMENT. I DID NOT BOTHER WHAT WAS THE APPOINTMENT. JUST ACCEPTED AND ON 5TH MARCH I GOT APPOINTMENT FOR 12 THE MARCH BRAVO RATHER EUREKA THAT IS WHAT I SHOUTED.
THIS WAS ONLY FOR ONE APPOINTMENT WHEN I TRIED FOR ANOTHER APPOINTMENT IT WAS ALL OVER.FULL IN THREE MINUTES.
I AM READY TO TAKE THE LEAD AND LET US MARCH TO TOI AND EXPRESS OFFICE AND RAISE THIS ISSUE.
PLEASE LET US COME TOGETHER SAY SOME 50 STRONG GROUP AND PLAN IT FOR NEXT THURSDAY.
MY EMAIL ID IS [email protected].

anyone can contact me on 9422513200 or 9158004292
Anurag
9 years ago
Are we looking at worse version of IRCTC in making?
Manoj
Replied to Anurag comment 8 years ago
Haha Buddy same feelings the time i came to know TCS will operate it now i had the feeling that it should not be bad version of IRCTC
PRADEEP SATHYE
9 years ago
BUT WHAT IS THE FINAL OUTCOME
Prakash Kundur
9 years ago
Hi,
I am from Bangalore. The ordeal faced by Mr Naresh is the same that I am going through.Every step followed by me and him are the same.

In Bangalore the bookings open from 6:00 PM.I log in at 5.55PM and at 6:00PM some days even before getting an appointment slot, the passport office server is overloaded and becomes slow.It is back to normal when you get the message saying all the 625 slots have been bookedand to try the next working day at 6:PM.You sit in front of the system the next day praying that all is working well.You may be lucky to go to an appointment slot and the system will not take you forward or you are logged out.By the time you re log in and key in the password, alpha numeric code the day's quota is over.

AS rightly pointed out, once somebody has clicked on a particular time slot, there should be an opportunity for him to complete the transaction within a reasonable time of at least a minute or two.The system because of overload will be slow and you can't do much.The whole 625 slots are filled up in a matter of 2/3 minutes and at 6:04 you are informed that the day's quota number is over.What do you do??

This has been repeatedly happening day after day for the past week. Thinking that I should not be encouraging touts I have not gone to them yet. But it appears that I have no choice.

Also as pointed out by Naresh, why should the booking be available for only one day?So much time and effort is wasted everyday by thousands of people.
Why should it be so difficult?
Even the US consulate where we need to fix an appointment it is not so difficult.You have a choice of many days and of course not a particular time on that day of your choice.

My passport is to be renewed after expiry of 10 years.There is no change in address or any of the personal details.It should be a simple and straight forward process. The passport office can receive our application and old passport at a counter physically and take their time for reissue. But we can't go and do this without fixing an appointment which has become such an ordeal.

Can you please do something for the Bangalore PSK to help citizens and not encourage touts.
IF NOT A RELIABLE TOUT WHO CAN FIX THE APPOINTMENT EASILY.
arun
9 years ago
I keep getting complaints on my consumer help website http://www.consumergrievance.com about Thane passport office where agents charge Rs 200 for just filling the form and other amounts for getting appointment.
Even the online forms do not open at times when you try from home, but these forms open when agents log in.
In one case the agent's staff added a middle name (which was not required as per the old passport). The passport was made in wrong name. It is a big concern that if the agent submits application, you can get a passport even in wrong name !!
This is the security at Thane passport office. Everything is possible if you take the help of FRIENDLY agent who knows people inside passport office. You can get passport in any name you want that too with police verification.

Arun Saxena
http://www.consumergrievance.com
Veeresh Malik
9 years ago
Here in Delhi the asking rates start from 700/- rupees and upwards. The agents are bold enough to advertise on JUSTDIAL.

http://www.justdial.com/Delhi/passport-a...


Krishna
9 years ago
Aha, not sure if this is some unholy nexus between TCS and agents or is it simply a problem of a badly designed system. The trick to get an appointment is to open two tabs in the browser and logging into the passport site from both the tabs. Then, close to 3 PM, you try book the appointment from both the tabs, the first tab will invariably hang/timeout, but then you will get through from the second tab. Apparently this is common knowledge available on certain internet sites.

However the experience inside the PSK isn't much better with I having to wait for about 1 hour 45 minutes inside after submitting the documents at the main counter.
Anurag
9 years ago
Unfortunately, this is the story for all centers. My sister is try to get an appointment in Ghaziabad center without any success. There agent is asking for INR 1500 and slots get over in 2 mins.
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