They were angry because the pass was issued by an inspector though only an officer in the rank of Deputy Commissioner and above are authorised to do so. This soon snowballed into a controversy, that now has the inspector staring at possible departmental action.
According to sources, inspector D Jayachandran of Esplanade station issued pass to a person who wanted to go to his hometown in Coimbatore.
Trouble began when the latter posted a photo of the pass on Facebook, which was spotted by many who were waiting in line in front of the commissionerate. The issue escalated quickly and reached senior officers, who directed action against the inspector.Sources said Additional Commissioner (North) R Dhinakaran informed the inspector over walkietalkie that he would be placed under suspension and asked him not to report to the police station from Tuesday until further notice. But when contacted, he said Jayachandran has not been suspended, but would be subjected to departmental action.
There are at least 1,000 people waiting outside the commissionerate to apply despite having been discouraged from doing so. Instead, the applicants are encouraged to send emails. However, this could mean a never-ending wait, as the officials are not finding time to process even the physical applications.
Smrithi Aparajithan from Bengaluru, who came to the city on March 19 to attend a family function, is stuck at her parents’ house in Ambattur with her two children while her husband who returned early suffered a relapse of slipped disc. “I tried to call the police control room to get emergency travel pass but it was unreachable. I emailed my request, but haven’t received any response,” she said.
Similarly, Naomi (29) of Puducherry, who is in her eighth month of pregnancy, was unable to return even after the hospital she was being treated in the city asked her to go to JIPMER immediately. After a long wait, her family managed to get the travel pass, thanks to a VIP’s recommendation.
“We have received over 9,000 emails in two days – most of them spam,” said an official.
How travel passes are issued
“Medical emergencies are given priority and passes are issued immediately if the necessary documents
are submitted. For funerals, the respective police station is contacted to confirm the details, and passes are provided after they submit relationship documents. Requests to attend weddings are mostly discouraged.
Also, for those who have to return to the city, the date of return is also mentioned in the pass, which is valid only 24 hours,” said an official.
Meanwhile, another control room has been set up at the DGP headquarters to process applications from
those who want to travel to Chennai from other districts. Applications can be mailed to email@example.com