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US Embassy doubles visa generation capacity to clear backlog
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US Embassy doubles visa generation capacity to clear backlog
New Delhi, Dec 15 (UNI)
As the number of Indian visitors to the US is constantly on the rise, with over 3.58 lakh Indians America-bound in 2006, the US Embassy has taken steps to double its visa generation capacity in the country that include opening new interview centres.
 ‘‘We have taken steps to double the capacity in visa production in India. We hope the backlog of visa cases to be redressed by March next,’’ Peter G Kaestner, Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs and Consul General told reporters here today.
 In September this year, the US Embassy was dealing with a backlog of 90,000 visa applications and since implementation of special measures, it has been able to clear 50 per cent of it.
 The steps taken include doubling the size of current visa section and adding ten new visa interviewing windows in New Delhi, construction of Consulate General building in Mumbai and having a new pre-screening facility and six additional interviewing windows in Chennai.
 Besides, Government of India has approved a building for a new Consulate General in Hyderabad. ‘‘We hope to open a 15-window consular operation in Hyderabad in 2008,’’ he said.
 Similarly, renovation is being undertaken at the Kolkata Consulate, that will double the workspace there, Kaestner said.
 ‘‘We have also added 12 new consular officers across India. We have added seven positions this year and we intend to add another six positions in 2007,’’ he said.

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