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UID project hits roadblock in Naxal-hit Jharkhand districts

The ambitious unique identification development project--Aadhaar--has hit a roadblock in the State.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2010 21:52 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times

The ambitious unique identification development project--Aadhaar--has hit a roadblock in the State.

While the first phase of the project got off to a flying start on November 1, in five districts including Ranchi, Dhanbad, Deoghar, Lohardaga and Hazaribag, the Rural development department—the registrar of the project for rural areas—is facing the dearth of agencies willing to take up the project in naxal-infested districts like Chatra, Latehar and Simdega districts.

With a view to extending the project to all the 24 districts, the department had recently invited the expression of interest of the agencies, empanelled the Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) for the State, to launch the second phase of the project in the rest 19 districts. The UIDAI has empanelled 51 agencies for the project in Jharkhand.

“However, none of the agencies turned up for two districts like Chatra and Latehar. Only one agency offered its bid for Simdega. Not only was the project cost stipulated by the agency (Wipro) on the higher side, but restriction criteria of the work prevented the department to allot the work,” said a senior officer, clarifying that one agency was supposed to work in not more than five districts.

Rural development secretary SK Satpati acknowledged the problem. “A high-level meeting has been convened by chief secretary Ashok Kumar Singh tomorrow. The issue will come up for discussion to evolve a suitable solution to it," he added, adding that the department might go for re-tendering.

To a query that whether the Maoists’ problem was anyway posing as deterrence for the agencies to take up the work in these districts, Satpati said the department had not yet looked the issue that way. “We could arrive at any logical conclusion for the agencies’ disinterest towards the project in the three districts only after going in for the re-tendering,” said the secretary.

Sources in the department said that the Wipro had quoted higher cost of the project for Simdega district because it required a lot of risk for getting biometric impressions of the people living in remote areas of the Naxal-infested district. “Maoists problem is there on other districts as well, but the delivery mechanism of the administration was present to the far off areas of those district. In case of districts like Chatra and Latehar, working is really a difficult proportion,” said a technical professional of one of the empanelled agencies.

In the first phase, the Rural development department has so far enrolled over 33,000 persons for doling out unique identification numbers and 7,000 of them have been given Aadhaar cards.

First Published: Dec 06, 2010 21:47 IST