Thursday, July 31, 2014

Oh my passport!

The first thing I did today when I got frustrated in the passport office was to search my blog for the post I wrote when I was frustrated earlier. To my surprise I found none. I think I was very forgiving the first time! So anyway, here goes.

The Bangalore Passport Office on Outer Ring Road (Devarabeesanahalli) is one painful place to visit. You are given an appointment time which is usually around a month later from the date you book. Compare that to Hyderabad where appointments are available the next day!

Then, the appointment time has no sanctity. You go there at the scheduled time, or earlier, or later (for it does not really matter) and then wait in line for about an hour to get a stupid token! I mean, what the hell? Why go through the whole appointment process?!?!

At the token counter, today especially, BWSSB bill is rejected on the basis that it is an e-bill. Really? Are we hi-tech or what? I called Subhash and he came to deliver a paper bill, which (drum-roll!) is exactly the same as the e-bill but in colour! I told the guy at the counter - that they should really stop being ridiculous - and stop wasting our time. He said that is because e-bill can be modified by anyone. Really! That was news to me!! Phew.

Then there is three counters. A, B, and C. A is presumably TCS-staffed, 20 counters, reasonably fast and out. Then starts the struggle. All the 20 counters lead to 4 B counters. Which are staffed by government guys. This takes forever to get to. After waiting for about an hour, your turn comes. You go, he checks all the documents and signs off.

Then comes C. This is easily the worst part. All A and B counter folks crowding the very narrow space - and C has 4 counters but both times I went there, there was just one or two that were manned. So naturally, one more bottleneck leads to one more congestion. Not to mention by this time all kids are cranky, sleepy, hungry and what not. And after waiting for an hour or two to be seen by the counter C lords, all you get is about 30s of their time, that too while being pre-occupied with something else, talking to someone else on the phone, etc, they take a barely cursory glance at your documents, nod to their sub-ordinate (yeah they have a secretary) and ask you to go. I mean, is it worth two hours? I just do NOT get it. And to me, there is absolutely no difference in what B and C do, so consequently why there should be two entities there except for that the government wants to provide more employment to needless folks is just beyond my comprehension.

I hear appointments in Hyderabad hardly take 15 minutes. Why the hell does it take so long here? is it just this centre or is the story same everywhere in Bangalore? God only knows.

When I went for the younger one's passport, he was sleepy and cranky and I had to carry him all the while, imagine carrying a very active infant in your arms for about 4 hours - yes, you guessed it, sheer torture. He just wouldn't let me sit, I had to stand and carry him all the time.

Today was much better, older ones passport renewal. Simply because I did not have to carry him. But the guy doesn't eat anything outside, so he went 6 hours straight without a meal, and that was another kind of torture. He was hungry and sleepy by the time we were done - but thank god for him being a well behaved child - at least he didn't throw a fit or pester me about being bored!

I had called ahead of time and asked if minors really need to show up for applying - they said yes. And so all parents endure the torture of trying to hold their kids back in a government building for a few hours!


Anonymous said...

Better call customer care and enquire on proofs beforehand.did that when I was renewing .was paranoid about rejection

DivSu said...

I think their document advisory was fairly clear, but the problem here was what "version" of bill they accept ;) Ohh, in all this ranting I forgot to rant about how much time that line takes to go through - yesterday I had to try at least for a couple of hours continuously before I got through! ;)

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