BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Feb 24: Keeping in view of the hardship faced by the people of North-East while availing visas and passports for travelling abroad, the Central government will set up several new Passport Seva Kendras in Assam. This was assured by Union Minister of State for Exterl Affairs General VK Singh to Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal during a discussion held on Friday.
General Singh assured Sonowal that the Ministry of Exterl Affairs (MEA) will set up Passport Seva Kendras at Dibrugarh, Silchar, Tezpur, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Goalpara, Lakhimpur, gaon and Diphu soon.
The Union minister said such centres will be opened at district head post offices initially. Apart from MEA personnel, such centres will be manned by staff of the postal department, added the Union minister. “The Ministry will send consulate generals of different countries frequently travelled by the people of North-East to visit Assam to get a first hand exposure and to take steps for setting up of consulates in the State to meet up the growing demand for visas,” said General Singh.
The issue regarding setting up of its own and exclusive building of Regiol Passport Office also came up during discussion, which is to be set up by MEA in the city soon. In his response, Singh said, “The building will be one of the best in the country. The interior of the building will reflect the essence of Assam and the exterior will give it a global look.”
The duo also discussed about the potential of Assam to be the gateway to Southeast Asia and strategies to implement the Act East Policy to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regiol and multilateral levels thereby providing enhanced connectivity to the Northeastern States.
The Chief Minister also offered to play host to the next Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Assam to further showcase the State and give a fillip to its initiatives to promote the region in global stage. Sonowal also requested the Union minister to maximize the operation of private airplanes from Assam to Southeast Asian countries and develop it as air hub.