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August 10, 2000
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Passport forms may be sold in banks, post offices

The government on Thursday said that it viewed reports of alleged corruption in passport offices with 'utmost seriousness' and was negotiating with banks and post offices to sell passport forms to put an end to this evil.

"We are trying to see that application forms are made available at many places. We are negotiating with banks and post offices for selling these forms," Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Panja said while replying to supplementaries during 'question hour' in the Rajya Sabha.

He said that 25,000 application forms were pending for clearance and passport offices took about five weeks to issue a passport, after police verification, in the case of a normal application which cost Rs 300.

The 'Tatkal' scheme cost about Rs 1,800 and a passport in this category was issued faster, even the next day in case of exigencies.

Panja said that instructions had been issued for speedy clearance of passport applications for students.

During 1999, 2.58 million passports were issued from 28 passport offices and reports of alleged corruption in passport offices were very small in number as compared to the volume of passports issued, he said.

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