Voter ID cards for 6,000 homeless persons in Delhi
Space below a flyover, a forgotten footpath near a metro station and pavements near a pedestrian bridge have been officially recognised as residential addresses by the Election Commission. Neelam Pandey reports.delhi Updated: Jan 21, 2013 00:25 IST
Space below a flyover, a forgotten footpath near a metro station and pavements near a pedestrian bridge have been officially recognised as residential addresses by the Election Commission.
The unique move is aimed at providing voter identification cards to thousands of homeless in Delhi, who live in such places and don't have access to government welfare scheme because they don't have address proof.
The chief electoral officer (CEO) allowed identification of places the homeless occupy to sleep during the night as their residential address.
During the special drive, the booth-level officers were directed to visit the places occupied by homeless thrice and people encountered during the repeated visits were registered by them.
A total of 6,000 persons were registered in the drive launched by the CEO last year. In the central district, which has the largest population of the homeless persons, 3,340 voter ID cards have been made. These will be issued to the homeless persons on January 25.
Some of the ID cards made in the Central district have addresses such as Laloo Mandal, residence pavement near Metro Station Chandni Chowk, Gopal Sharma, address: a footpath in Chandni Chowk and Lovekush a homeless living in Panja Sharif Chowk Kucha, Chandni Chowk.
"The idea was to ensure all the genuine persons were enrolled. All our booth level officers were asked to visit every nook and cranny occupied by homeless persons. As far as fulfilling the clause of providing the residential address was concerned, we decided to treat the location where such people slept regularly, as their address. A voter ID card will not only establish their identity but will also ensure that they access government services," said Vijay Dev, CEO, Delhi.
He said only 62 homeless were there on the voter list in Delhi before the drive was launched. According to the officials, over 10,000 booth level officers were involved in the process and close to 5,000 people are expected to get voter ID cards.
Ashraya Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA) director Paramjeet Kaur, who had referred people who sleep in shelters being run by her organisation, said AAA would keep copies of the voter cards of the around 600 inmates so that they could be made again if lost.