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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Agents selling birth, death certificate forms

Harshraj Singh, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, April 05, 2013
First Published: 21:24 IST(5/4/2013) | Last Updated: 21:25 IST(5/4/2013)

The agents sitting outside the civil surgeon office complex are charging Rs. 10 for the forms to apply for birth and death certificates which, otherwise, should be provided free of cost at Suvidha Centre inside the civil surgeon's office.

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Despite the instructions given by the director, health and family welfare, the forms are not available free of cost at the Suvidha Centre at the office of civil surgeon.

Mostly visitors do not have proper information that the forms are also available on website www.pbhealth.gov.in. The visitors are being forced to visit to the agents who sell the forms. Besides this, the agents also offer service to submit forms at the counter and charge Rs. 80 as form submission fee. The total fee for submitting form to get birth or death certificate is only Rs. 38 at Suvidha centre.

Surjit Singh, who visited the civil surgeon office on Friday, said that when he did not get to know that from where the form was available, he went to an agent sitting outside the office complex. The agent took Rs. 10 and asked him to get the necessary documents.

“There should be a special enquiry counter so that people can get the required and true information,” Surjit Singh said.

Some people also visit agents as they do not know how to fill the form. Another person said that an agent had demanded Rs. 500 from him and assured that his work would be done within three days without the need of the required documents.

These agents can also be seen wandering inside civil surgeon office.

When asked, an agent denied the allegations and said, “We charge only Rs. 10 for filling form. We do not do any work with unfair means.”

The Health and Family Welfare Department of Punjab had issued instructions in November 2012 to make ensure to provide forms for birth and death certificates free of cost under the Right to Service Act. But nothing has been done so far.

According to sources, when the work of people are not completed in time they are forced to go to agents and pay them for completion of their work as they have contacts with employees sitting inside the Suvidha centre.

Assistant civil surgeon Dr KS Saini said that they had given warning to the agents many times but they came back again. He said that people should not go to the agents.

Civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said that he would look into the matter, adding that he had sent the complaints against these agents to the police.

When contacted, director Dr Ashok Nayar said that he would look into the matter regarding availability of free forms at the civil surgeon's office.

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