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Saturday, September 23, 2006

How to renew your passport in Mumbai....

I only managed to run thrice this week, though I did manage to complete 21kms over this week. But I actually have good reason for it, as one evening I was at the Royal Yacht club (its close to gateway of India) and the second day was due to my expedition to the passport office.

My passport office visit was required for renewal of my passport, so that I could attend the Singapore marathon. I had registered online and got a date allotted to me one month after. On my allotted date I was advised by some friends to hire a broker/tout who would ensure that I would not have to wait in a long queue (and would need to reach the office half an hour before start) and complete the exercise in under an hour. Whereas some others told me that it was pointless to use a tout, as they are not really allowed to do anything inside the passport office and the only thing they do for you is wait for you and keep a place for you in the queue, and you have to do the rest on your own. I chose the latter, I reached the passport office at 7.30am and had to wait till 10.00am for the counters to open.

Now coming the interesting bit, when I joined the queue at 7.30am I was about 40th in the queue, but by around 8.30am I realised that I was 70th in the queue. I soon realised that many of the people standing in front of me where touts and they where representing their clients, and each of them was fixing about 5 people in the queue. I decided to protest against such moves and soon found like minded fellow queue mates who were equally upset with this and to our credit we managed to put a stop to this. We thought that we had solved the problem, but it was only after we went inside the office after 10am, we noticed that at regular intervals, there were a couple of touts who would come and drop a couple of applications at some of the 12 counters for clearance.

The concerned officer at the counter would then take up these applications in between the applications submitted by people who had come there in a legitimate manner. But the bigger issue was that these applications were not supported by any original documentation and the concerned person was not present in person. (these measures are important so that passports are not allotted to people who are applying for them with an intent to misuse them). I might be wrong in my observation and these applications might have had a valid reason for having come at the counter (out of the blue), but this is how it appeared to me!

My recommendations to those of you who are visiting the passport office for renewal –
  • There is no point in hiring the service of a tout, its just not worth it.
  • Try and be there by 7.30 am.
  • There is no need to come earlier than that and do not be worried if you are among the first 100 entrants, there are about 12-14 counters and many of them come for other issues like ECNR approvals, changes in passport (all of which have different counters in Hall 2)
  • It will take you about a maximum of a couple of hours to complete the application scrutiny and submission process, if you reach by 7.30, it should not take you more than an hour after the counters open.
  • The staff is very strict and sometimes very unreasonable, so even though you are required to bring only two supporting documents for proof of residence, please carry an additional 2 document options. Also carry some spare pictures, the person at the counter asked me to replace my pictures in the application, as he felt that the picture which I had pasted was not good enough (and guided me to a photostudio across the road, which ripped me off) In short, if your application has not been vetted/arranged by a tout or agent, there is a 50% change that they will find some imperfection in your application.
  • Do remember to carry water, fruit and some sandwiches with you, plus some reading material, the wait can get very boring (touts are not the most interesting guys to chat with!!)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

is there passport renewal by mail? could save some trouble. SAK

Girish said...

I wish there was one, but sadly they don't have it. Not just that, they need the concerned person to be physically present (only exception being a blood relative with a authority letter). Else the place will be filled with Agents acting as proxies for most of us!!

ipm said...

Wow what a pain to renew a passport.I REALLY RESPECT UR GRIT AND DETERMINATION!
thank heavens mine is secure till 2011 or such time!!! maybe things will ease out by then.u mean u stood in the line for all that time? no chairs or something?we cant move out of that place for a short break?

Girish said...

Thanks. There are no chair or anything, you are actually standing in the open (so if its raining, you are standing at one spot with an umbrella in your hand!!). You can take short breaks in between, by informing the person behind you, not a problem.

aaccording said...

Mumbai Yacht Club provide the School Package
• Safety feature info & explanation on jetty ½ hour.
• Wearing of Jackets & boarding of Boat.
• CD start on tourism (Film in Marathi, Hindi & English)
• Anchor will explain during the trip.
• Snacks in between
Places to be shown from the boat in this package.
Elephanta, JNPT, Gateway of India, NRI Complex, TATA Electric
Info from Text book – from different standards - School books
http://www.mumbaiyachtclub.com/

aaccording said...

MUMBAI YACHT CLUB is sure to make many a wild Dreams Come True!.. There are infinite possibilities of experiences & Points to Explore lined-up for you to decide upon… Take Family or Friends on a Sunrise or Sunset Cruise… just drop anchor on high seas & encourage your Kids to Befriend the Dolphins!.. Seal an important Deal over cool silent Sips on the sea! Train your kids to the Hook-line Rod, then lend your wife a hand to Cook the Sea-fresh Catch & together Taste Home on the highseas Lunch or Dinner!
Enjoy thrilling Dives, have a sunbath on the deck or treat your eyes to a favorite Title/Volume in Cosy cabin.
http://www.mumbaiyachtclub.com/

aaccording said...

MUMBAI YACHT CLUB is sure to make many a wild Dreams Come True!.. There are infinite possibilities of experiences & Points to Explore lined-up for you to decide upon… Take Family or Friends on a Sunrise or Sunset Cruise… just drop anchor on high seas & encourage your Kids to Befriend the Dolphins!.. Seal an important Deal over cool silent Sips on the sea! Train your kids to the Hook-line Rod, then lend your wife a hand to Cook the Sea-fresh Catch & together Taste Home on the highseas Lunch or Dinner!
Enjoy thrilling Dives, have a sunbath on the deck or treat your eyes to a favorite Title/Volume in Cosy cabin.
http://www.mumbaiyachtclub.com/

aaccording said...

PARALLEL PRIORITY- MUMBAI YACHT CLUB !..
Not overlooking the fact that Adventure & Thrill are also entailed by Risk factor, MUMBAI YACHT CLUB’s Boats are well equipped with all the latest Safety Devices like Radar, Chart Plotter, Fish Finder, GPS, Boat Tracker, VHF Communications, Life Jackets, & Trained Seamen, Safety being the parallel Priority !..
An MUMBAI YACHT CLUB enjoys series of standing services that ensure to make Moments on the Seas Memorable!
http://www.mumbaiyachtclub.com/