The Passport Seva offices, which were shut in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, have resumed limited operations citing the inconvenience caused due to the suspension of passport services.
According to Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary to Government of India in Ministry of External Affairs, the Regional Passport Offices (RPOs) on emergency duty amid the COVID-19 outbreak, have restarted the printing of passports.
So far, more than 6,200 passports have been dispatched to Missions abroad with the help of several courier services.
Sanjay shares the information via Twitter
Taking to the micro-blogging website, Sanjay wrote, "I am happy to share Passport Offices RPOs, on emergency duty during #COVID19, have resumed printing of passports. Over 6200 passports despatched through Courier services to Missions abroad." He tagged both the Ministry of External Affairs and the Minister of External Affair Dr. S. Jaishankar in his tweet.
He further informed that India Post has been delivering passports within the country.
I am happy to share Passport Offices RPOs, on emergency duty during #COVID19, have resumed printing of passports. Over 6200 passports despatched through Courier services to Missions abroad. @IndiaPostOffice started delivery within India @MEAIndia @DrSJaishankar @SecretaryCPVOIA— Sanjay Bhattacharyya (@SecySanjay) April 28, 2020
Passport Seva suspended till May 3
Due to the nationwide lockdown that has been imposed to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, the MEA has suspended passport and consular services at all PSKs and POPSKs across the country till May 3.
"In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, operations at the Passport Offices, PSK and POPSK will remain suspended till 3rd May, 2020. Applicants are requested to reschedule their appointments accordingly. Restrictions on the number of rescheduling allowed for appointments have been relaxed," reads a statement on the online portal of Passport Seva.
However, recognizing the inconvenience caused to citizens due to the suspension of passport services at PSKs & POPSKs, it was decided that RPOs will remain open to tackle emergency cases.
Will the lockdown be extended beyond May 3?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, April 27, conducted a meeting with Chief Ministers of states to plan ahead in the fight against COVID-19. Discussing a graded exit strategy, PM Modi hinted that lockdown could be extended in the hotspot areas.
India's COVID-19 case count has been on a sharp rise over the last couple of weeks with the total number of patients nearing the 30,000-mark.