SHILLONG, July 28 - The Union External Affairs Ministry is trying to set up some facilities in the Northeastern region itself for easy processing of visas for people who wish to travel abroad.
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said here today: �A large number of people from Meghalaya and other Northeastern States visit holy places like Jerusalem and nearby areas.
�For them getting visas is a big issue. We are therefore making efforts to have some facilities for Visa processing in the region so that more people from the North East can make their travel plans easier.�
He did not mention the countries, which the Centre is persuading to open their visa facilitation centres here, but based on the travel trend request would be sent to such countries.
At present, only Bhutan and Bangladesh have their consulates in the region. Muraleedharan said the people of the region find it a hassle to travel to Kolkata for their visa each time they wish to travel abroad. �People here have to travel to Kolkata for visas,� the MoS said.
The Central Government is also planning to have Videsh Bhawan in all the State capitals to facilitate the smooth functioning of Ministry of External Affairs and bring it closer to the people.
�We are also planning to establish Videsh Bhawan in all the States. Videsh Bhawan is a one stop centre where all activities related to external affairs will be there,� he said.
The MoS visited the Passport Seva Kendra here and handed over a few passports to the people. He said that Meghalaya has around 36,000 passport holders and the Shillong Passport Seva Kendra has issued around 28,000 passports till date. Meanwhile, on the NRC exercise in Assam, the Minister said, the NRC exercise is on and is being guided by law.
�The Home Minister has already said that every Indian citizen should be identified, every foreigner should be identified and then we need to pursue the due process of law.�
He further said that no decision has been taken so far about the people who don�t find their names in the NRC. Muraleedharan said the process is on to identify who is an Indian and who isn�t and on a later stage further decisions would be taken.