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Woman given no passport for 5 years, now gets two

In a bizarre case, a woman struggling to get a passport for 5 long years has now been given two passports.

Divya Iyer |

Updated:October 30, 2007, 5:49 PM IST
Woman given no passport for 5 years, now gets two
In a bizarre case, a woman struggling to get a passport for 5 long years has now been given two passports.

New Delhi: For five years, Bandana Rai and her husband Saurabh went through many hassles, trying to cut through the red tape to get Bandana a passport, for which she had applied for way back in 2002. She could not manage one then.

Their honeymoon abroad, Saurabh's foreign assignments and even the possibility of a future life abroad had to be put on hold as she couldn't manage a passport for five years.

But in a bizarre case, she has now been given two passports — one bearing her single status and the other post-marriage.

"Maine passport ke liye shaadi se pehle apply kiya tha. Ab do bacche ho gaye hain. Pehle toh paanch saal tak passport nahin diya, ab do do hai (I had applied for a passport before my marriage. I didn't get it for five years. Now I am a mother of two kids and I have two passports)," Bandana says.

Bandana first applied for a passport when she was single and living in Deoria. After her marriage, Bandana moved to Delhi. The couple tried visiting the regional passport offices in Lucknow and Delhi, lodged complaints with the Foreign Secretary, the PMO and even filed an appeal with the public grievances cell.

When nothing worked, a frustrated Bandana applied for a new passport in March from Delhi, clearly mentioning her pending passport issue. A month later, Bandana got her passport. And in August, a second passport — the one she had originally applied for — landed up too.

"It's a grave security issue. Except for Bandana becoming Andana, all records in the passport are the same," Saurabh Rai points out. "The bigger aspect of the problem is the grievance redressal system has totally failed," he claims.

In a day and age when the government promises to issue passports within a month, the Rais had to battle it out and face harassment for almost five years. And now even when they have been given a one-plus-one-free scheme, it's not helping. Because for the Rais, traveling is still a distant dream.

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