City residents have to through a lot of hassles for obtaining a birth or a death certificate from the Amritsar Municipal Corporation, notwithstanding the claims of the civic officials of simplifying the procedures through computerization of the department concerned.
The process is marked by rampant delays and even errors pertaining to names and addresses.
The complaints of the residents, who have applied for these certificates, and the long queues of applicants outside the department of birth and death registration testify to the problems faced by the people in this regard. The claims of the MC authorities of having computerized the department for the convenience of the people have become meaningless in the present scenario.
After a long wait of more than three years, Harinder Singh, a resident of Antaryami Colony, was finally able to set his sights on his son's birth certificate. "I applied for it almost three years ago and thereafter I had the most harrowing time of my life", he said and added that often he was given dates to come and collect the certificate, only to be given another date by the department concerned.
Harinder Singh maintained that there was a time in between when the certificate was ready, but it was full of mistakes. He added that he had to pay the fees for the certificate a couple of times. "My son's name had been spelt wrongly, the address was wrong and it took another year marked by several visits to the office concerned to get the anomalies rectified. Finally I am able to hold the corrected version of the certificate in my hands. It feels like a tough battle won", he said.
Ramesh Kumar, a local resident, said that his mother passed away in December last year and he had applied for her death certificate immediately after. "I was told that the death certificate would be ready by January. I have been to the office of the department of birth and death registration several times, but in vain," he said and added that the issuing of the certificate was being delayed on one pretext or the other.
"They keep blaming the delay on unavailability of records or failure of their colleagues to complete a job in time," he maintained. Sunny, another local resident, who lost his grandfather last year, said that he had applied for the latter's death certificate soon after. "The certificate was supposed to be ready and handed over to me by October last year. Four months have passed since then, but all I have got so far are dates and dates," he said.
Rajni, another resident, whose son is working in Mumbai, has a similar tale to tell. "My son needs his birth certificate to fulfill certain formalities and I had applied for the same. The experience has been quite harrowing for me as all that they have done with me so far is to send me from one window to another," she said.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner DPS Kharbanda said that efforts are being made to streamline the department. "At present, the department is partially computerized. A study is being conducted and an estimation undertaken to ascertain the cost to get it fully computerized, which will take time," he said.