Now, you may not have to travel too far for getting your passport as the government came up with a plan to open passport centres within a radius of 50 km, while announcing that nealry 150 post offices would start doubling as passport kendras soon.  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday announced that the government will soon open 149 new Post Office Passport Seva Kendra. These will be in addition to 86 POPSKs announced by the ministry of external affairs in the first phase, an initiative undertaken jointly by the MEA and the department of post.  Arun Chatterjee, joint secretary (consular, passport and visa division), said 52 POPSKs have been opened in different post offices till now. On an average, these offices handle 3,500 appointments per week.  Since coming to power, the NDA government has also opened 16 PSKs, with a priority given to the northeastern states, Swaraj said.  Thus, the NDA government has altogether opened or announced 251 PSKs and POPSKs since coming to power in May 2014, she said.  Prior to this, there were 77 PSKs in the country.  The minister said when she took charge in the ministry, she realised that “proximity” was the biggest hurdle in applying for passports.  We ha”ve set up a target that no one has to travel more than a radius of 50 kms to get a passport,” she said, adding her ministry and the DoP are working to map 810 head post offices and extend the ambit of the scheme.  She also said more POPSKs will be opened in third phase after the completion of mapping and checking the viability of the post offices.  The : 18th. June,17


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