Mangalore, July 17: Congress workers led by Ivan D’Souza held a protest outside the Passport Seva Kendra in Mangalore on Tuesday criticizing its functioning and lack of facilities at the centre.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. D’Souza said that more than 350 appointments are given every day but no adequate facilities have been created for the benefit of the people who come to the Centre. People are made to wait unnecessarily for long hours and there are no enough seating arrangements for them. The Centre does not possess enough toilets and the ones which are existing are in pathetic condition. People who come to the centre are asked by the Passport Kendra staff to use the toilets of the nearby petrol bunk, Mr. D’Souza alleged.
The police intervened and stopped Mr. D’Souza and other Congress workers when they tried to enter the office in protest to close it down.
The office must be closed down and an office to offer passport services must be opened at the Zilla Panchayat, Mr. D’Souza demanded.
R R Chitnis, Assistant Passport Officer, stepped out to calm the protestors down. Accusing the staff of the Kendra of behaving rudely with the people, Mr. D’Souza asked Mr. Chitnis to look into the matter and take up the issue of providing facilities to people at the Kendra at the earliest. The improper functioning of the Kendra has been bringing bad name to the Congress party as it is a central government initiative, Mr. D’Souza said, warning that the Union External Affairs Minister would be made to make a surprise visit to inspect the services being offered at the centre in the days to come.
A memorandum listing various demands such as increase in acceptance of applications from 450 to 600, introduction of walk-in facility, setting up of a helpline for the benefit of applicants and illiterate people, non-involvement of agents and simplifying of passport procedure, parking facility, besides other demands, was submitted to Mr. Chitnis on the occasion.