MUMBAI : There is good news for the residents of the twin cities of Vasai and Virar. The Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has given the nod for a new passport office in Vasai, last week. 

Rajendra Gavit, MP, Palghar had met Swaraj in New Delhi during the Lok Sabha session and suggested the setting up of the new passport office in Vasai, to which Swaraj has agreed for the same.

Said Gavit, the current population of Vasai-Virar has crossed 22 lakh and due to globalisation, number of people from my constituency and mostly every graduate applies for the passport. There is no passport office in Palghar district, from where I am elected to the Lok Sabha, and people have to go to the passport offices in Thane and Mumbai to apply for a new passport,said Gavit.

The Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Thane was set up in April 2001 and the suboffices of the Thane RPO is located in Malad and other suburbs in Mumbai.The Thane district was bifurcated in August 2014 and the new Palghar district was formed but to get a new passport, the applicant has to to go to either Mumbai or Thane, and hence there is a need for the new passport office in Vasai,said Gavit.

Even though the online system for applying for passports have been introduced, one has to physically visit the passport office to submit the documents which is then sent to the local police stations for verification, said Gavit. So there is an urgent need for setting up of the new passport office in Vasai, he said. 

Around 7 to 10 verifications are done daily by the seven police stations in Vasai taluka daily, and in a month around 1,500 verifications are done, said Vijaykant Sagar, ASP, Vasai. The police have to submit the verification report to the passport office within a stipulated time of 21 days and only then a new passport is issued to the applicant,he said. To speed up the  verification, a cash incentive of around Rs 200 is given to the police by the government, and thus the procedure has speeded up.