With this letter I would like to bring to your kind attention the problems we face in the IC application process. These problems could also be the additional reasons for why many of our Tibetan community members are applying for Indian Passport. These problems are in addition to the ridicule that IC-holders face at the immigration counters at various airports.
Though the Government of India thinks that they are simplifying the IC application process so as to discourage Tibetans from applying for Indian Passports, the attitude and service of the staff at Bureau office at Lajpatnagar, New Delhi, does not help a bit. These staffs are unfriendly, rude and reek of babugiri themselves. The staffs at IC section specially need training in etiquette in dealing with the public. They would shout and look down upon people visiting from far-off places to submit and make inquiries into their application status. These staffs are either ill-trained in public dealing or have never been trained at all. The humiliation and ill-treatment our people receive at this first stage itself is daunting and discourages people in applying for IC.
Even if you have travelled from settlements in South or North East of India; you won’t be allowed in the Bureau Office after 1PM. Why can’t they have at least one staff to at least collect the applications from the people who have travelled so far and are tired and don’t have provisions to stay even for a day in city like Delhi.
As if the time it takes to get IC issued is not long enough; it takes minimum of over a year to get either of new IC or get the old ones renewed! Even IC application on urgent basis would take minimum of 4-5 months! Try calling in to make inquiries on the status of the application only to get rude staff of IC section to shout at you and offer no help at all. They always make it a point to make you feel like they are doing you some kind of favour taking the phone call and even talking to you. Why are these people getting paid salary from our taxes?
Apply for Indian passport and you would have it issued in two weeks’ time at the maximum provided your documents are all in order. You would get all updates of the status of the application on phone with SMS messages. No rude staff shouting at you.
Recently, a notification was circulated saying, IC application process have done away with NORI and now it would take shorter to get the same. In reality, now you have to wait for clearance from MEA. It takes even longer!! Either there is just one officer who works on clearing IC, or this is just an excuse. He/she is always gone out either on vacation or on some kind of training. It is ironic that Government of India can’t afford to pay for a reliever or second staff to chip in when the officer is on leave or out of office. The said officer is out of office so wait a little more, it won’t hurt. You bet.
After a year-long wait, numerous calls to IC section to know if the IC is issued or not, and after numerous counts of scolding you get from these rude staff of Bureau Office. Finally, spend a little more money to travel again to New Delhi to receive the IC. Visit the office again, if you couldn’t make it to the office before 1PM or even worse, if you are shabbily dressed!!!! Seriously, there is new rule at the Bureau Office now! You can’t enter if you are not dressed well. And who judges if you are fit to enter or not?! It is the guard at the gate. If you make a scene by requesting the guard with excuses like, you have travelled from far, you are tired, you are not staying in Delhi and can’t change into GOOD CLOTHES, etc., you would have a visit from an insider (Bureau Staff) to give you some moral lesson. How can you come dressed so shabbily? After all you are visiting Bureau Office. Responsibility of maintaining the decorum of the Bureau Office is not with the people working inside it but with the poor visitors who have come to seek help and service to which they are entitled.
And the stories of other problems with the yellow IC book go on — I don’t have to narrate them here as it has already been talked and written about so much in your esteemed news portal.
With this letter, I wish to draw the attention of our MPs and all officers in CTA. They should at least give some training to its employees who would be entrusted with responsibility of public dealings etc. Also the Bureau needs to get more people-friendly and do away with stupid rules like dress codes for visitors.
Dehra Dun, India
10 October 2018
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily that of Tibet Sun