Where does one go for availing of the Central Government's Aadhaar identity card is what Coimbatore residents want to know. For, most are not aware of the addresses where the enrolment centres function in the city.
The residents asked the question not after the project was first launched or when the District Collector M. Karunakaran launched the project in the district on September 15 this year but only after they read the Union Petroleum Ministry announcement in newspapers that the Aadhaar card was a necessary document to avail of LPG refills.
An officer associated with the Unique Identification Authority of India project admits to the failure to publicise the addresses. One of the reasons, he cites for the poor response, is the lack of suitable places within the city limits.
Only if the service providers have a suitable place will they be in a position to advertise the venue and the service offered. This has been the handicap. The service providers even tried hiring wedding halls but they could not get it for long periods because of wedding and other bookings.
To overcome the problem, the service providers have approached the Coimbatore Corporation, School Education Department and private education institutions for space.
Even as the service providers are grappling for space, they are now concentrating in rural parts of the district. In the coming days, they will take the help of school heads and village-level officers.
At present, the service providers are in about 50 places in the district. They will add another 40 in the coming days. And there will be more service providers too. India Post has joined the latest list of service providers.
It will launch its service for issue of Aadhaar card on November 21 at the Coimbatore Head Post Office and then extend the service to other post offices in the district. It has also made available online the enrolment form on www.tamilnadupost.nic.in.
Secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause K. Kathirmathiyon urged the district officials to increase the number of enrolment centres and the facilities therein as early as possible, as the public have now started making a beeline to these centres fearing disruption of LPG supply. City needs to have more enrolment centres and moreover they need to be publicised well. In addition, the publicity for the same should include the locations and also the procedures involved besides the documents required. Many applicants were being turned down for want of documents, resulting in poor compliance, despite the willingness.
Some of the centres in the city have limitations in terms of turning down the applications because of capacity constraints in handling more than 100 or 250 applicants a day.
In addition, Mr. Kathirmathiyon welcomed the decision to make Aadhaar or UID mandatory for availing of LPG services, as it would help eliminate bogus beneficiaries and misuse of subsidy. He found fault with the timing of the decision to make it mandatory. UID or the Aadhaar initiative has just begun and has not been completed. Government should increase the number of enrolment centres and make the process public- friendly.
If the public failed to enrol and comply with the initiative, then making it mandatory after a six to eight month period i.e., after June 2012 is understandable. Without taking the scheme to the people, making it mandatory will have counter-productive results and lead to the very collapse of the initiative, he cautioned.
The State Government/District Administration should be involved in the process, so that the enrolment process could be taken closer to people and the desired results could be achieved, say officials.