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Count us out, residents tell census officials

mumbai Updated: Feb 15, 2011 01:51 IST
Prajakta Chavan
Prajakta Chavan
Hindustan Times
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The enumerators working for phase II of census 2011 are having a tough time convincing reluctant residents about the importance of the survey.

Over 25,000 enumerators, including civic, state government and private teaching staff, are deployed for the census work that commenced on February 9.

The enumerators claim that many people are refusing to answer the questionnaire saying they don’t have time. “We are having a hard time trying to convince people to give the information. People are hesitant since most of questions were asked during phase I held in May 2010,” said the principal of a Vikhroli-based primary school on condition of anonymity.

“People residing in plush residential colonies avoid answering the questionnaire since it consumes 20 minutes or so. Those living in slums cooperate, but then many of them don’t even know their date of birth.”

A civic teacher from Koliwada said: “In some houses, the residents start searching for documents for information like immigration, age and date of birth. Some hide information about their income, occupation or ownership of the flat. We have to probe them hard to get this information, which gets awkward.”

With the February 28 deadline looming large, the burden on enumerators is increasing. Civic officials are now requesting for more teachers from the primary section, especially those who had participated in the phase I.

“Initially, we were asked to give 29 out of our 52 teachers. A few days before the census started, two more teachers were asked to join,” said Ulka Chavan, principal of Matunga-based King George Marathi Primary School. “Now the civic officials are requesting for nine more people.”

Chavan said some of the teachers were covering more than 120-150 households.”

When contacted, Shamkant Shirsate, deputy director, Directorate of Census Operations, Maharashtra, said: “The residents should cooperate with the enumerators since it’s national work, which will be used for forming future government polices. This data will remain confidential.”

He added, “Ideally, 120-150 households comprising population of 600-700 should be given to one enumerator. If the households have increased, it indicates that the population in that area must be less. For instance, commercial shops and offices don’t have much population therefore they are counted as census house.”