Post-floods: Govt agencies fail to streamline documentation services

Claimants suffering for want of passport, ATM card, driving license, etc.

In yet another embarrassment to the state government, many departments have failed to fully resume functioning even after passage of two months since floods ravaged Jammu and Kashmir.
Certain government departments in the state are yet to resume hassle-free documentation services exposing the people to lot of problems.
Due to floods in Kashmir, the issuance of important documents viz. Passport, Driving Licenses, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, PAN cards, etc. is on halt. The officials claim the service has been affected because of communication problem, which the state is facing since September.
The Regional Transport Office here has been running short of cards for the past two months, due to which the applicants, who had applied for license or their renewal are disappointed.
A group of drivers maintained that they have applied for the renewal of license three months back before floods in Kashmir, but till date the officials at the RTO department evade their queries on the pretext of shortage of cards.
“We have been told that the cards are not available in the office and are ordered from Kashmir. We are not plying our vehicles on road due to lack of documents,” the drivers said, adding that the RTO has also not issued any substitute so that they could ply vehicles in the absence of proper license.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Arvind Kotwal admitted that the department is running short of cards.
He said: “Due to condition prevailing in Kashmir in the wake of floods, the issuance of license cards is on hold. Things are improving and we will soon start issuing licenses,” said Kotwal, adding that for those drivers who want to take their vehicle on roads, “They can come to my office and collect authority letter,” said RTO, Jammu.
Similarly, at Passport Office, several applicants rued that the officials are making excuse of Kashmir floods for delay in issuing the passports. “It’s been more than a year and officials are saying that processing is taking time. And, now they have got another excuse and that is Kashmir floods. They say that due to floods in Kashmir several backlog cases are pending,” Mohammad Arif Lone said.
He said that earlier he was told that his passport would be ready by September.
People also complained about financial institutions, saying that banks have been annoying customers by not issuing ATM cards. Scores of customers lamented that before restoring ATMs, the concerned authorities should have solved the problem of damaged ATM cards.
When contacted PRO, JK Bank, Anil Sharma, said that earlier there was a problem of communication in Kashmir due to which several cases of ATM remain pending, but now “we have restored processing of ATM cards and many backlog cases had been cleared, while processing on rest of the cards is expedited,” he said.

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