SILCHAR, Jan 16: The holding of two-day passport mela here that began from today under the arrangement of Regiol Passport Office of Guwahati has created the ground for the opening of a permanent centre of passport which will immensely benefit the people of the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi. A team of 10 members from the Guwahati office led by Deputy Passport Officer Dulal Sutradhar is conducting the verification proceedings.
Those who have applied for passports before January 16 can come for verification. Accordingly a good number of applicants turned up in the public facilitation centre in the campus of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar. M K Das, Additiol Deputy Commissioner, Education, is coorditing with the Guwahati team for verification. Every day, the target is to verify 300 applications. Presently, the camp will be held on monthly basis. If the quota or target is achieved after due process of verification, Dulal Sutradhar said, “We will write to the Government of India for opening a passport office here”.
It is relevant to point out that the demand for a passport office here has been long pending and for which various social, student and youth organizations have been campaigning. Series of memoranda have been sent to the higher authorities concerned in New Delhi. In fact, when Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister of Exterl Affairs, came here to address a workers meet on December 27, BJP leaders placed before her among other demands, the issue of opening a passport office here. She instantly announced at the meeting that it was granted.
It was as a sequel to her promise or assurance that the Regiol Passport Office at Guwahati was moved to explore the possibility of a centre for Barak Valley. The people of this valley seeking passports have to wait for a long time after applying in the regiol office. There was not only inordite delay in issuing, but the bureaucratic wrangling caused lot of harassment to them. Besides, allegations of greasing the palms in that office have also been common.
With the initiation of the camp which will pave the way for the opening of a centre at subsequent stage, some of the applicants, who came to the Public Facilitation Centre, said in identical manner, “We are glad and hope everything will be now hassle free and no one will be subjected to harassment.” Nizam Uddin Mazumdar, former driver in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, and his wife Afja Begum Mazumdar, who came for verification for their Haj pilgrimage, were highly appreciative of the move.
Partha Dutta Choudhury, who has decided to go for foreign trips, also expressed his satisfaction. So was Subhas Das, a student, planning to go abroad for study, said, “I have been thinking of pursuing higher studies in a foreign country. The camp has made it possible to get my application verified.” He at the same time pointed out going abroad for studies does not mean he would also like to get a job there. He would come back after finishing his studies and back home not only for suitable job but also to look after his parents and elderly persons in the family.
Nilima Begum, who also wants to go for Haj, was elated and said, “Anyone desiring to have a passport has to travel a long distance to reach at the Regiol Passport Office. It is not only time consuming but also expensive”. All this will be a thing of the past, she hopes. The date of the next camp will be decided after looking at the response. And in order to have a centre here, necessary infrastructure has to be built, pointed out Dulal Sutradhar. The two day camp will be held under adequate security cover.