(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Hundreds of applicants seeking to renew their passports were not issued tokens when they turned up at the bls internationals centres.
several applicants were turned away from indian passport processing centres in dubai after issuance of tokens were stopped following a shortage of passport booklets reported at the indian missions here.
hundreds of applicants seeking to renew their passports were not issued tokens when they turned up at the bls international’s centres in al khaleej centre and other locations on saturday and sunday khaleej times has learnt. the applicants were told that the tokens would be issued only for early birds until the missions here resolve the passport booklet shortage issue that has affected even the vacation plans of many indian expatriates.
at the bls office in al khaleej centre the biggest centre for indian passport application processing services in the uae only 100 tokens were issued as against up to 300 on regular days. in smaller centres like the ones in kmcc office and deira city centre where 50 to 100 applicants visit daily only 10 tokens were issued for renewal of passport booklets.
apparently the staff at the centres informed the applicants that they were asked to restrict the number of tokens for passport renewals by the officials at the indian consulate. however all the centres accepted applications for all other services that are not affected by the booklet shortage.
abdul raheem is one of the many applicants who could not apply for passport renewal at the bls office in al khaleej centre on sunday.
“i get free time when the shop closes for lunch break” said raheem who works in a grocery. “if they stop the tokens by noon or so how can i make sure tomorrow also i will be among the first 100 people to take the token? this is so stupid” he said.
khaleej times could not get a comment from the consulate or the bls international.
however a spokesperson from the indian embassy in abu dhabi said the tokens would be issued as usual from monday. “we got to know about the issue only today. it has been sorted out. there may be a delay in delivering the passport but that shouldn’t prevent us from accepting the applications. this has been conveyed and there will not be any such problems from tomorrow” he said.
the official said the missions were still accepting emergency applications for passport renewals through the “tatkal” service. “the only problem is when we run short of the 36 pages regular booklet we are forced to issue the 64-page jumbo booklet which costs more” he said.
the shortage of passport booklets which is said to cause about three weeks’ delay in delivery just ahead of the summer vacation is expected to last till the end of july.
the indian missions in the uae which together issue about 20000 to 23000 booklets per month have been hit by the shortage that is attributed to printing issues at the india security press that has failed to deliver adequate numbers of passports with the recently added new security features.
the indian embassy in abu dhabi on thursday issued a press statement informing indian nationals who have applied or intend to apply for passport renewals about the shortage and delay.