Passport offices in all northeastern states soon

Agartala, Dec 29 (IANS) The external affairs ministry has decided to set up passport offices in remaining northeastern states to ensure passports are issued in much easier and swift way, official said here on Tuesday.

“Currently a passport office in Guwahati and a Passport Seva Kendra in Imphal (Manipur) are functioning. A Passport Seva Kendra would be set up in Agartala on Thursday,” an official of the Tripura government’s political department said.

Referring to the ministry’s decision, the official said either passport office or a Passport Seva Kendra would be set up in the capital cities of the remaining northeastern states.

The official said Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh would inaugurate the Passport Seva Kendra in Agartala on Thursday, fulfilling the long pending demand of the Tripura government.

“At present on an average 15,000 passports are being issued yearly to the people of Tripura. After setting up the Passport Seva Kendra in Agartala, the number would at least double,” the official added.

The Kolkata regional passport office issues passports to Tripura residents and applicants.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, addressing a public meeting in Silchar on Monday, announced that a regional passport centre would be set up in Silchar to ease the problem faced by the people of southern Assam also known as Barak Valley.

Director of Passport Seva Project (PSP) A.K. Sobti during his recent visit to the state said handwritten passports have become invalid across the world since November 24.

Sobti and three other officials came here to oversee the arrangements to set up the passport office in Agartala.

An official circular said the government was issuing machine readable passport (MRPs) since 2001. Those issued before 2001, particularly in the mid-90s with a validity of 20 years, fall into the non-MRPs category.

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