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Thursday, Apr 25, 2002

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Rescind passport fee hike, say travel agents

Our Bureau


THE Kerala Association of Travel Agents and the Recruiting Agents Association of Kerala have urged the Centre to withdraw the steep hike in passport application fee, which came into effect from April 1.

The associations have also called upon the Chief Minister, Mr A.K. Antony, and the Members of Parliament from the State to intervene in the matter.

Mr K.V. Muraleedharan, President of the Travel Agents' Association, said on Tuesday that the application fee had been increased from Rs 60 to Rs 1,000. This would hit hard thousands of Keralites going abroad in search of work.

He said that nearly 25 per cent of over 25 lakh applications received at the 28 passport offices across the country annually are from Keralites.

Within Kerala, about five lakh applications are received a year at the three passport offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.

Mr Muraleedharan also said that most of the people going to the Gulf countries from the State in search of jobs were unskilled from very poor families.

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