The policies of the state and union governments, which have made Aadhar cards compulsory to avail of benefits of several schemes even before it has been issued to all of them has left people in the lurch.
In Faridkot district, nearly 58% of population has been covered under the UID project so far but as per the government policies, Aadhar card is required to avail of benefit of most of the schemes. It has led to a rush of people at UID (Aadhar) counters set up in the district, where things are not moving at a desired pace.
Sources said a private agency, which has got the contract to enroll about 6.18-lakh population of the district under Aadhar has only 29 machines to do the job. Though the company had promised that more machines will be pressed into service, it has been unable to cater to the rush of people in the present set-up. Sources said 50 to 70 cards can be prepared by one machine on daily basis.
“It takes about 15 minutes to complete all the formalities for an individual,” said an operator at the Aadhar counter in Faridkot. The slow pace of preparing Aadhar cards has added to the anxiety of people, who are seemingly desperate to get the UID.
“This is the third day I have been coming to get the Aadhar card, but I have failed to reach the counter due to huge rush,” claimed a youth from Faridkot who was waiting for his turn in a queue on Wednesday.
As people waiting for long got impatient, there were hardly any queues and it resembled more of a crowd of people jostling to get their turn first. As the free forms are distributed only in the morning due to staff shortage, it has led to harassment of people.
“We are tired waiting in the queue since morning,” said two old women. “We do not know how long we will have to wait.”
Kulwant Kaur who had come from Mehmuana village said she wants Aadhar card to get her old-age pension. “None in my family has got the UID and I have travelled to Faridkot to get the same. All residents in my village have been left out so far,” she said.
Another old woman was worried as she wanted the Aadhar card to get scholarship for her grandchild. “At least they should give me a form to fill up,” she said.
There are six places where data is being collected for four towns and 173 villages in the district. “As there are 29 machines to prepare Aadhar cards in the district, these can complete formalities of about 1,500 to 2,000 people in one day. Nearly three lakh people are yet to be covered,” a source said.
Padampal Maini, district manager of the enrolment agency, said, “We are getting more machines after which the number will rise to 50.There is also some problem in hiring operators as they have to pass a specific test. Lack of awareness is another issue as earlier when we visited some villages, people did not get the cards made. We will cover all villages and towns and people should not panic.”
Stating that he is aware of the problems people are facing in getting Aadhar cards, Faridkot deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat said, “I have instructed the agency to give me a proper schedule about its functioning and I have also instructed the staff to first cover school children who need Aadhar cards to get scholarships. We are also holding a two-day camp in each village, about which people will be informed in advance by making announcements.”