Saturday, March 26, 2011

passport seva kendra bangalore, Passport applicants in Bangalore left high and dry

Angry applicants protested in front of the regional passport office (RPO) in Koramangala and passport seva kendras (PSKs) at Marathahalli and Lalbagh Road when employees struck work nationwide on Tuesday.

Anticipating trouble, police rushed to the RPO and PSKs in the morning to avoid any untoward incident. Although the strike was called off in the afternoon and employees resumed work at 2.30pm, the public had to return home disappointed without applying for or collecting their passports.

As usual, on Tuesday too, people started queuing up in front of the passport office from 5.30 am. Among them were applicants from districts and some foreign nationals too.

They came to know about the strike only around 9.30 am when security guards told them to return to their homes. They were told that All India Passport Office Employees Association had called for a two-day strike.

However, people were not convinced and they went on arguing with striking employees till noon. They said the sudden strike was unjust. They had no clue of the strike as they were waiting for hours at the gate. If it was a nationwide strike, why it was not reported in the media, they asked.

As the public turned the heat on the striking employees, the police tried in vain to persuade them to stop their protest and return peacefully to their homes. Similar scenes were witnessed in front of the passport seva kendra on Lalbagh Road near Urvashi theatre and the centre at Devarabisanahalli in Marathahalli on Outer Ring Road.

Asha Narayana Shetty, a team leader with Monsanto company, who was waiting in front of the passport kendra at Devarabisanahalli, said: “I’d been struggling for 40 days to get a clearance certificate from the passport office for my visa. I had my first appointment on February 10 and the second was on Tuesday. I took leave and came here with great expectation. Then came this big upset.”

“I found the gate of PSK office locked with police, security guards and passport applicants crowding around. One applicant told me that the employees were on strike and they won’t allow us inside.

They did not even allow us to park our vehicles and the police were busy sending visitors back,” Shetty said.

“The passport officials did not answer our questions. Some agents told us the office won’t function tomorrow (Wednesday) also,” she added.

One passport employee said, “We received the message calling for a two-day strike only on Monday night. Around 2 pm today, we got the message to call off the strike. Hence, we resumed duty.”

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