By K. Surendran
Detroit: From a number of people writing in India Tribune, about their bitter experiences regarding OCI, it is apparent that this subject has really created some confusion or lack of clarity.
Let me first say the good part of the story. If you carry the OCI card, your old American Passport with the OCI sticker and the new American Passport without the OCI sticker, you are OK.
Now the bad part of the story. If you have lost the old American Passport with OCI sticker, even if you have the OCI card that shows all the necessary information, it does not help. Does the OCI card have any value in such situation?
Second point: I hear that if you have a PIO card you don’t need a sticker in American Passport. Of course the PIO card is good for 15 years only or may be 25 years, if you were made to pay $1000 in the initial phase.
Third point is the Indian bureaucracy: Customer relationship is horrible in India. The same attitude has been imported here. I went from Detroit to Chicago’s Indian Consulate as I had some questions even after reading the rules for transferring the OCI sticker from old to new passport, and a telephone communication is far from desirable. The man at the reception desk said: “You can get forms for that at OCI window at 11:30 a.m.” I doubted that, but anyway he was telephoning a few people before telling me that. I stood in line and reached the lady at the OCI window, who said that the man in the reception doesn’t know any thing because he is only a peon. That was the only thing she told me clearly. Rest of the conversation was in fast track. She justified that by saying there are many people standing in line. In the bargain, she said that I can go home, go online fill up the form online and bring it with all the documents and certified check for $25 and then they will process the application and give me the sticker the next day in person, or mail everything to my home address what ever I prefer.
Now comes the sad part of the story. I went home did all that, came back and went to the OCI window. Now there is a new lady. She turned tables upon me. Her main conversation was defending the staff there and showed the same hurry and unconcern and didn’t care what she can do and asked me to go home and mail everything to her. She also added that it will take four to six weeks for the documents to go to Delhi and come back. But I was to go to India in four weeks. I said to myself, enough is enough.
One question lingers: Isn’t it enough to carry the American Passport and OCI card just like American Passport and PIO Card. I know the present rules don’t allow it; but can we change the rules. Just a thought!