New building for consular services

DUBAI - Mile-long queues and hours of waiting at the Consulate-General of India (CGI) will now become a thing of the past as an adjacent building, within the consulate premises, is being solely dedicated for consular services.

By Prerna Suri

Published: Wed 29 Jun 2005, 12:22 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:47 PM

The new wing, previously the consul-general's residence, will now house the visa, labour and welfare, attestation and miscellaneous consular services (such as issuance of emergency documents and marriage certificates as well as dealing with death cases), significantly reducing the turn-around time for these services.

The Indian government has been debating for several years to expand the consulate in Dubai, currently located in the Al Hamaria diplomatic enclave, and the expansion is expected to lessen the congestion and long queues frequently seen at the premises.

Yash Sinha, Consul-General of India, said: "On an average, we have over 2,000 visitors everyday at the consulate. The lack of space has been a constant source of complaint amongst many. Hopefully, we would be able to provide faster and more convenient services to the community with this expansion," he said.

The service halls in the old Chancery building will now cater to passport and passport-related services only.

"This will not only reduce the congestion in the halls but would also result in additional counters being made available for applicants to submit their passport applications. So, the waiting period for submitting documents would be reduced," said Sinha. The ground floor of the new building will house the labour services where officials will be available for blue collared workers and people in distress, he added.

The CGI caters to the requirements of almost one million Indians residing in the various emirates under its jurisdiction and is one of the busiest Indian missions in the world. Over 600 passports and 300 visas are issued everyday.

The new facility will also mean that documents given for attestation would be handed over to the applicants within a few minutes compared to the longer turn-around time for the same.

"Attested documents will be handed over to the applicant soon after submission of the same," said Sinha. "This would negate the need for the applicant to return to the consulate in the afternoon to take delivery of these documents."

UAE nationals will also be able to receive a visa for India on the same day of the application as they would have a separate hall to apply for their visas. The cost incurred for the expansion was not disclosed by the consulate officials but it was said to be 'economical'.

The issue of increasing manpower in the consulate was also discussed but no plans are currently in place to increase the number of workers, said the consul-general. The 64 staff members at the consulate are not enough for the kind of services they offer, he added.

He said during 2004-05, the consulate-general issued 123,000 passports, 735 emergency certificates, over 31,000 visas and 72,000 attested documents.

The working hours of the CGI, Dubai, are 8am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm (Saturday to Wednesday).

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