Lockdown: Passport applicants in a fix

Rifat Mohidin

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 19

Residents in the Valley have been facing a lot of difficulties in applying for passports as the whole process is dependent on the Internet, which is shut in Kashmir. The residents have been facing trouble in scheduling the appointments as the entire process is online.

“I have been going from one office to another as I have to book an appointment for the passport, but I am not able to do it. The Internet blockade has hindered all the work and we are forced to either wait or go to any other state to apply. It has put us to a lot of inconvenience,” said Naveed Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar.

Another student, Saqib Rather, said he had to apply for the passport but could not do so due to the Internet shutdown. He said the government had said it had opened Internet kiosks in all districts of Kashmir to facilitate people in need but there was no such facility.

“The government is showing the world that it is helping people but in reality, everyone is suffering, including students and children. These are times of technology and internet is the need of the hour. We have been deprived of this right,” he said.

“Due to the Internet shutdown, smooth functioning of passport services has been affected, particularly scheduling appointments,” said an official at the passport office.

During the lockdown in Kashmir for the last more than a month, the Regional Passport Office, Srinagar, has dispatched 2,856 passports, official records show.

The data from the office shows that 2,381 passports had been dispatched through post. It also shows that 2,772 files had been processed. It says the number of passports delivered at the counter is 71.

RELATED Tourist taxis hit hard by lockdown