I have had an excruciating past 1week at the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai.
My existing passport is valid till 2017, however I ran out of all the pages for any new visa to be affixed.
So what was supposed to be a straight forward visit to passport office turned into a nightmare.
I visited (don't remember the date, but was 1.5w before the appointment) passport.gov.in and registered for an appointment on 09-Aug-2011 11:30 IST at the New passport Office - Bengal Chemicals, Worli, Mumbai.
I reached the gate at 0830 IST. I inquired if it was necessary to come early or arriving 15min before the appointment time is still valid ?
The guard at the gate, said, Yes
So I stood in queue along with 150 people ahead of me. By 0945 IST the queue had swelled to 300 people.
At 0945IST, they inspected everyone's application to check if they had a valid appointment for that day. Upon inspection, they assembled us in three queues
A) for People with Appointment for that day
B) for people who have been summoned for 2nd or more time, due to lack of documents/etc
C) For people who have not registered online.
So obviously, I was placed in A) queue along with other 260 people.
At 1000 IST, they started doing inspection rounds again only from A) queue. This time people called for 1000 IST were asked to enter the Hall A while others waited. So no matter what time you showed up at the gate, if your (As mine) appointment is at 1130, you will need to wait.
At 1015 IST, ditto, people called for 1030 IST appointment were picked and asked to proceed to Hall A. Again for me, had to wait.
This continued till 1115 IST when my turn to enter Hall A arrived.
At 1115 IST, two guards at two separate points leading to Hall A inspected my papers again and accordingly I was dispatched to Counters 17 or 18 as they were meant for Tatkal.
At 1145 IST, A cop, announced to all Tatkal registrants to affix two extra photographs near the police verification page (pg6). This sent panic among lot of folks including me, who didn't carry extra photos of the same size. I had smaller size photos. So I affixed those.
At 1215 IST, My turn at the counter arrived. The officer was rather terse in his communication.
He looked at my application, sorted the two additional sets of copies, and then queried his online database for my existing passport number.
There he found out that my current passport (issued 5 yrs ago) (valid till 2017) was issued under Tatkal and Police Verification (PV) wasn't done then.
He said, I wont be eligible to apply under Tatkal this time around so the passport will have to be processed in normal priority (35 working days for delivery after Police Verification)
I will have to withdraw my application and go home.
He gave me exactly 2mins to decide and panic set in. After having waited for nearly 4hrs and enduring high stress, it was an automatic "YES" to normal processing.
The moment I said YES, he applied a huge stamp "Passport Cancelled and Returned" on my current passport and asked me to proceed to counter 18 to pay the Normal Passport processing fees.
WOW... What happened just now ?
once the panic settled down, it was too late to realize, that I wont be able to travel on current passport and wont get a new one till another 45days.
Man, New sets of FUDs swept me... I was all at sea...
I asked him, and several others, what next ?
He said, I can convert this application to Tatkal in next 8 days, If I get Annexure - F and Annexure - I.
Now I knew what big mistake I had committed.
Annexure- I is a pretty straight forward application which anybody can make for 200 INR to 400 INR, depending on priority. I paid INR 300 for next day delivery.
Annexure - F: The most important piece of paper since I did my engineering...has to be got from a well know dignitary working in Govt/ Public Sector.
More info here : http://passport.gov.in/cpv/ANNEXUREF_vc_tatkaal.htm
This Annexure F is also called VC (Verification Certificate).
Now how on earth am I going to get a VC ? I know NO big shot to vouch for me.
Eventually, I realized this was the only way to sort me out.
At 1400 IST, I left for Byculla to meet my in-law at the Sales Tax Office.
At 1600 IST, I met up with my in-law and together we went to 6th floor to meet Dy.
He heard our story and said, someone in the past had got a V.C letter from the Dy. Commissioner and Passport office had rejected the application.
So we need to seek the VC from Joint Commissioner, where my in-law had no influence.
Thus dejectedly, we left for home. I arrived home at 1905.
Before going to bed, I thought of reaching out to a colleague at office who is an Ex IAF Wing Commander.
She (yes that ex IAF is a lady !!!, A pretty one at that too :-) ) heard me for like 2mins and immediately said She can definitely help me get a VC. And she will update me first thing in morning next day.
on 10Aug2011 at 0754 IST,
I got a missed call on my cell.
At 0830 IST,
I called back that number and she told me would it be OK if she got me the VC from Bangalore the next day when she has to visit Mumbai for work anyways.
I said yes.
At 0845 IST,
I sent her scanned copy of my photograph that I had affixed on the application. As Annexure F (VC) needs my photo cross signed and cross stamped
At 1400 IST,
She went out to a local photography store and got my passport photos printed (cost INR 70 for 8 photos)
At 1430 IST,
She confirmed, my VC will be ready for pickup tomorrow at Mumbai Domestic Airport from her at 0900 IST
At 1700 IST,
I confirmed a local chauffeur (paid INR 500 + meals) to take me around next day in my car.
on 11Aug2011 at 0500 IST
Woke up, showered and got ready to leave at 0815 IST.
At 0830 IST
Tanked up fuel
At 0845 IST,
Realized I was going to be very very late meeting her as I was stuck in peak traffic on Western Express Highway. So called her to meet me mid-way on WE Highway under Andheri Flyover.
At 0915 IST,
After making roughly 15 calls back and forth giving directions to her cab driver and instructing mine, we met at the designated point.
At 0917 IST,
I got the envelope, with 2 sets of Original Annexure F and I handed over a small pack of snickers chocolates that I had got for her as a gesture in thanks for all her efforts.
At 1015 IST,
Reached the barber shop opp the New Passport Office, to pick up my Annexure I
At 1030 IST
Reached the new Passport Office, counter 12 to submit my application
1) A Letter requesting for expediting the application in Tatkal
2) Appendix I in original and 1 copy
3) Appendix F in 2 sets of Original + 2 copies of Driving License of Wing Commander who signed my VC.
At 1050 IST,
I was told, I need to get copies of my existing passport and any valid visa i might have (No mention of this on their website by the way)
At 1055 IST,
After a quick dask to the Xerox wala outside the RPO, I returned to the Counter 12 queue
At 1059 IST,
I realized, after casually chatting with a lady ahead of me, that I need a Reference Number on the VC. (No explicit mention of this on their website by the way)
At 1115 IST,
A frantic call to Wing Commander and I got the File Ref Number.
At 1118 IST,
I am back in queue at counter 12.
When the Officer inspected my papers he said, I had to submit the Liquor Card/Canteen Card of the Wing Commander instead of his driving license as the proof of Identity !!!!!!!!!!!!
(No mention of this on their website by the way)
At 11 20 IST,
I ask Wing Cmdr to FAX me the Liquor Card/Canteen Card to a street Xerox wala.
At 11 45 IST
After exasperating wait, the FAX transmission comes in, I see its a PAN CARD copy instead of Liquor Card !!!! Damn !!!!
At 11 47 IST,
I run up to the counter 12 again, just to try my luck, to see what officer says... Though I expected the inevitable.
he refused, He said, I had to get the Canteen Card/Liquor Card or no go.
At 1125 IST,
Panic galore, What did I do wrong to be punished like this ?
I called the wing cmdr again and he said he kept the card at home and can give it to me at 1500 latest.
At 1455 IST,
I check the scan copy of the Liquor Card come in to my email
At 1500 IST,
I save it to USB and give it to local Xerox wala who prints it for me.
At 1505 IST,
I visit the counter 12 again. The officer this time around actually inspects the VC and says the VC is from an officer in Bangalore and that wont be accepted (No mention of this on their website by the way) he told me I can request the Secretary to the Commissioner of Passport at Cabin II as he is the one who authorizes processing of all VCs.
At 1530 IST,
I meet the Secretary in his cabin. He blatantly refused the BLR VC and said its too difficult for them to verify the same via Snail Post and by then the Tatkal window expires. So I had to get a VC with a liquor card form an officer in Mumbai.
At 1600 IST,
I called the (wing cmdr) colleague up and asked her if I can get VC from someone in Mumbai.
She obliged. She had a return flight to take at 2035 back to BLR. So on route to airport she called people who could oblige.
At 2000 IST,
before she could enter the aircraft, she gave me 2 contacts
1) Wing Cmdr in IAF - Santacruz.
That gentleman was being posted out of Mumbai and would be of no use when VC verification would come in.. DAMN !!!! Need to find someone else.
2) Retd Capt Indian Navy
At 2010 IST,
I called the Ret. Cpt. and he was very polite. he listened me out and we spoke on several calls for almost 10mins.
Since then, Ret. Cpt made calls to 10 different people at this late in the evening.
But since we were approaching a long weekend, Sat/Sun/Mon Holidays, lot of his Tier1 mates were on leave.
At 2045 IST,
I get a dejected call from Ret. Cpt that he had exhausted all his options. I was already ashamed of myself of having sought so much of personal obligation. I requested him to try few more times.
At 2100 IST,
Ret Cpt called me back and said I needed to visit Navy Nagar, Colaba, to meet Surg Cpt.
He gave me exact coordinates knowing I was a civilian and never been to that place ever.
It was so so nice of him to help me out and go this far really.
Thank you sir....
on 12Aug2011 at 0500 IST
Woke up, showered and got ready to leave at 0735 IST.
At 0735 IST
Took a fast train to Churchgate
At 0845 IST
At 0855 IST
Took the Cab to Colaba, R C Church
At 0915 IST
Arrived at the Gate of the INHS Ashwani
At 0920 IST
Met Cmdr's office with whom Ret. Cpt had spoken to earlier evening.
Was made to wait in a very nicely lit and air conditioned cabin of his Clerk who (unfortunately) was running late that day.
More stress/anxiety/high tension.
At 1030 IST.
She arrives, update the doc file (she already had the format), and prints it.
Damn... We spent next precious 30mins fixing paper jams on her 2 printers.
At 1100 IST
I meet Surg. Cpt to get his signature/seal on VC
At 1115 IST
I run to take a cab from RC Church to Old Passport Office, Worli.
I tell cab wala, will tip 20 INR more if he got me there before 1200 IST as the RPO closes at 1200 IST
He drives like a man possessed, with of course, I constantly reminding him of the urgency.
At 1145 IST
In 30mins, I am outside the RPO, WOW, the cabbie was a genius. I tip him more than agreed and dash of to sprint to Counter 12.
At 1147 IST
I arrive at the counter, no queue surprisingly at this time, WOW,
Tell him, I had come yesterday with BLR VC and it was not allowed. Today I have got a Mumbai VC with Liquour Card and all !!!!!!
he says, "Tumhi Ata Khub Hushaar Jhalaat " I will process your application quickly.
I get an appointment date with a senior RPO for 16Aug2011. He scribbles with green pen (official colour for them)
I walk out of RPO with a sense of accomplishment. Like mission accomplished. War won !!!!
I go home happy and sleep well that night.
on 16Aug2011 at 0500 IST
Woke up, snoozed the alarm and went to sleep for 1hr. Damnn !!!
at 0600 IST
Got up, showered and left for RPO at 0735 IST
Took the train to reach Dadar.
Visted Siddhivinayak Temple (my weekly ritual)
Took Cab from Siddhivinayak to Old Passport Office
Stood in queue with other outside the Old RPO.
Entered the Building with the rest of people to go to my designated counter (Counter 6) for a face to face interview.
The peon outside the Cabin VI, collects everyone's receipts to retrieve the Original Applications filed by me on 9Aug2011.
he brings files in batches... Mine doesn't arrive... In the mean time, other people whom I got acquainted with at Counter 12 on Friday arrive...and submit their receipts for their files to be retrieved.
Others keep coming in and get their files retrieved. Mine still not found
Others keep coming in and get their files retrieved. Mine still not found
Others keep coming in and get their files retrieved. Mine still not found
I was the LAST person left whose file was not found. Can you believe it.
Finally the peon found my file and submitted to the Secretary of Commissioner of Passports in Cabin II
he rejects the application on grounds that VC is not on "PRINTED STATIONARY" and that it was on a computer generated letter head. !!!! ( No mention of this on their website by the way)
What the FUCK !!!!
Why me ?>
Why Me ?
WHY ME ?????
I meet him in his cabin and he blatantly refuses to even hear me.
Says, pls close t
he door when you leave...Nothing to say... Get the VC on printed stationary else I cant proceed as per my orders.
I call the Surg. Cpt to check if he has the printed stationary. He said, it had the Official Emblem on the left, but no address. Now that wont suffice I thought...... Thanked him and continued on my way home.
I leave for Dadar Station. Take a cab outside RPO
It was a sad day indeed, after having come this far, I get denied AGAIN..That too for a petty reason!!!
I was totally shattered and decided to abandon the entire tatkal saga for good and give up
I wrote to my manager and others that I give up and will let the passport arrive in its own due course of time.
At 1900 IST
I get call from Ret Cpt again and he says I should talk to Surg Cpt to see if he has printed stationary. Which we both doubted he would have.
on 17Aug2011 at 0800 IST
Woke up, saw missed call from Ret Cpt. WOW. New ray of home I guess.
I called Ret. Cpt and he patiently hears me out on what transpired the earlier day.
He said I should call once again to Sug Cpt to see if he has any printed stationary with Emblem and Address.
I call Surg Cpt and he says, I told you yesterday I don't have the printed stationary. I request him to double check again. All we need is the official Emblem and Address. He said I should call him in 5mins
i call Surg Cprt again and he surprisingly said, he managed to scour 2 printed stationary which had the emblem and address. I asked him if I can get them today itself and that I would meet him at 1100 IST at his office.
Now I had precisely 2 hrs and 20min to reach his office. And for those who know where I live, it was quite a dash. I hadn't showered up.
I shower Up
Have a quick bite and rush to take auto to reach local train station
Take the train (fast, jam packed) for Churchgate
Train arrives at Churchgate. I have 20mins to meet Surg. Cpt.
I take the cab to reach RC Church. The cabbie's name is Ram.... I ask him to wait for me outside the gate and that if he was willing to drive me to Dadar, Worli.
I am actually at Surg Capt's office. 15 whopping min late !!!
Cpt smiles at me and gives me 2 original printed stationary for me to hand them over to Clerk for printing it out.
I run around the campus to meet the clerk. She modifies the doc (header/footer/etc) to align with the stationary.
I run back to Cpt's desk and he signs and seals the document for me. I thank him profusely.
And I run back to main gate to the cabbie (Ram) waiting by for me.
we start the quick dash to passport office. I tell him I will tip well,but he has to reach me the office by 1200 IST. An impossible feat which both of us knew.
I kept pestering him and he tried his best to cut through peak traffic.
we arrive outside Old Passport Office.
I pay him well, and I make a quick run to RPO.
I am outside Cabin VI (6) and meet a huge queue of people still waiting to be interviewed.
I eagerly scan for the peon who retrieved my file yesterday. As I knew without that file, I wont stand a chance at the RPO Officer's desk.
I locate the peon. He tells me the file is still in Cabin II at the Secretary's desk.
I wait outside cabin II, for my turn to arrive.
I get a chance to speak to Secretary of Commissioner.
I explain him I have this time around brought the VC on printed stationary as you had asked.
He looks at my face and checks the same online database and then verifies the VC against the passport application. Finally approves it and says I should stand in queue VI and he will send the file across.
I eagerly wait outside cabin VI for my turn to arrive. And even more eagerly for meeting that peon who is to fetch the file from Cabin II and keep it in Cabin VI.
I meet that peon, walk with him and request him to get the file from Cabin II
I walk back with him to Cabin VI
I meet the RPO in cabin VI.
he checks the same online database, checks the VC, Checks my current passport and signs off the application. I am asked to pay the additional fees under tatkal at counter 25.
I pay INR 1000 fee for Tatkal and get a receipt.
The lady tells me, the passport will be dispatched by speed post on 23Aug2011.
I am a relieved man. Thank God
Start heading towards Dadar Station
I SMS all the parties who helped me of the status.
THis post to update you all of my saga.
Moral of the Story
IF you need to apply for a passport in Tatkal and if your PV (Police Verification) was NOT (repeat NOT) done last time around, Then
1) You need Appendix I (10min job, costs INR 200-400)
2) Annexure F (huge task, quite impossible for a common man)
Annexure F needs to meet following criteria (none of which are on their website)
A) Need to get 2 sets of Originals
B) Has to be on Printed Stationary and not computer generated letterhead
C) Have to provide ID proof (in 2 copies) as Liquor Card/Canteen Card of the Serving Officer...
(For Public Sector Officials) Need to provide office ID card showing that person's designation as well. Else, get another letter from the same official stating that he indeed is who he claims to be, i.e He is the GM of Bank of XYZ. etc.
D) The photograph on Appendix I and Appendix F needs to be the SAME one as in the application
3) Self Application on Ordinary paper requesting RPO to expedite the processing under Tatkal citing the old passport number, Your application File Ref #, and reason for expediting the process.
######Update as on 24Aug2011########
I did get my passport on 24Aug2011 at 1645 IST via Speed Post.
So all's well that ends well.
######Update as on 05Sept2011 ########
At 15:45 IST I had a regular hawaldar visit my house for Police Verification.
I gave/showed him all the originals there and there and avoided the visit to the police station.
Now this PV will be submitted to CID for their onward perusal before a clearance is sent to Passport Office.
After which the passport office will take another 5-6 working days to issue the passport.
So had I not done the VC process and gone via Tatkal route, my passport would have arrived by end of Sept2011.
This would have meant it would have taken me about 55days (approx) (from 9Aug2011 to 30Sept2011) to get my passport in normal delivery mechanism.