When Aarti Kulkarni logged on to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) website to fix an appointment for enrolling her family into Aadhar, she thought she would get the identity card without having to endure the long queue for registration. She was sent to a fictitious address, and eventually ended up without the card – after running around in Goregaon, hunting for a non-existent Aadhaar centre.
After registering her husband, her two children and herself online, the 39-year-old biology professor got an appointment letter fixing a 2pm to 3pm slot for March 22 at a ‘Technoplus Complex’ in Goregaon (west). She even received an SMS from Aadhaar confirming the appointment.
When the family left their Kandivli home, they were surprised to find that the address mentioned in the form and SMS was fake. “After one-and-a-half-hours of running around SV Road, we realised that we were looking for a place that didn’t exist,” said Aarti. “My son’s Class 10 exams are on, but we dragged him along.”
After asking passers-by about the address, a few of them referred the family to one Techniplus Complex, which turned out to be a spacious corporate building. “The security guard at the entrance told us that the building has never been an Aadhaar centre,” said Aarti.
When she called the contact number given on the form, the person on the other end answered after several attempts and told her that Aadhaar had closed, and hung up on her. “If it had shut down, why were we given an appointment for the enrollment?” asks Aarti’s husband, Vinod, 44.
“There has been no error from the state’s side; in fact, the state UIDAI website has declared that Aadhar has been discontinued for the moment,” claimed Dr Santosh Bhogle, state nodal officer for the UIDAI.
An official from the national technical office said that the regional office in Mumbai could be responsible. The assistant director general at the regional office was unavailable for comment.