It will take at least six months to complete the biometric data collection for the National Population Register (NPR) in the entire Kochi Corporation area, officials said.

The data collection, which began in Fort Kochi, has now moved to Mattancherry. In both the places, around 80 per cent of eligible people (usual residents aged five and up) reported. The initial reluctance of the people to report for the data collection is receding as awareness about the importance of the process is widening. The process is proceeding from one Corporation ward to the next and by the time the entire city is covered it will be more than six months.

In Ernakulam district, the data collection is currently on the city corporation as well as in Perumbavoor municipality. The next town will be Aluva where the officials hope to set up data collection camps in the first week of November.

The shortage of the biometric machines and trained staff is slowing down the process. Currently the authorities have got only 30 machines for the district. This will soon rise to 100 in a couple of months.

Trained and licensed staff to operate the machines and enter data is in short supply, too. Only those licensed by the Unique Identity (UID) authorities could be employed to run the operation. To get the licence, the technicians need to get specially trained and pass a test.

Meanwhile, lack of awareness of the NPR biometric data collection and confusion about two biometric processes (one for NPR and another for UID) are holding up people from reporting at the camps.

The authorities have to repeatedly remind people that NPR biometric data collection is mandatory, while UID is not.

Those who have already done the UID need to report for the NPR.

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