Saturdays pose a challenge for those manning the special camps

There has been a big rush at special Aadhaar camps being held in the city at select places even as the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG consumers has been launched in the district.

The first phase of the camp was held between October 2012 and March 2013 when the fingerprints and Iris were registered for an estimated 7.92 lakh above-five population in the city. Even as the second phase of the camp which commenced in October did not attract the people to a great extent, in the initial few weeks, according to corporation sources. The Supreme Court’s interim order that no citizen should be denied subsidy for want of Aadhaar had made the people take it easy on registering the biometric data, according to sources.

“It was after the oil marking companies insisted on the Aadhaar cards for the direct benefit transfer (DBT) of subsidy that a large number of residents have come forward to register their biometric data,” say the corporation sources.

Every time an LPG consumer registers his or her refill, the oil companies immediately despatch SMS to the consumers advising them to register their Aadhaar card with the distribution agents so as to be eligible for the DBT.

A number of senior citizens who were out of station for prolonged period staying with their relatives in other districts turned up in good strength, grabbing the current phase of opportunity.

G. Ghouse (57) said she had been staying with her daughter in Erode for a prolonged period. Despite her difficulty to walk, she managed to turn up at the camp with the assistance of her daughter.

On Saturday, at one of the camps in K. Abhishekapuram, a large number of residents from Ward 45 had gathered for registering their biometric data. Vijayakumari, one of the residents, said she had often been visiting and camping at Pudukottai all these months. She was not certain whether registering the biometric data was compulsory. “There was some confusion over the need to get the Aadhaar card,” she said and indicated the interim order by the Supreme Court.

The eleventh hour rush at the camps indicated the city residents’ interest to have the biometric data registered for all the members, including children aged above five years. G. Govindarajan, a resident, said that although he had registered the data during the first camp, he did not get the Aadhaar card.

“After ascertaining from the website that my data was not available, I have now decided to register for the second time,” says G. Govindarajan, a senior citizen. The corporation has been a facilitator and the biometric data are recorded by a private agency. “Saturday poses a challenge for us. Being a holiday, children and office-goers gather in good strength at the camps,” says T. Senthilkumar, in-charge of the camp for the residents of the ward 45. “The corporation has to make special arrangements for a generator on Saturday, in the wake of power shutdown for periodical maintenance by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation,” he says. Corporation sources said that about 77 per cent of the 7.92 lakh population had registered their data so far. “However, applications on shifting of residential address either within the city or outside the district has been on the rise,” sources said. At the end of the first phase till September, the number of persons to be covered remained just 1.80 lakh but now the figure had shot up to 3.20 lakh, say the sources.

Only limited tokens are distributed daily. While 150 persons are covered a day on weekdays, nearly 200 to 300 persons are covered during the weekend. Official sources appeal to the people to utilise the camps on weekdays so that a larger percentage of population could be covered under the programme.

A resident K. Abhishekapuram said that he came to the camp as early as 6 a.m. although the photographing commenced only at 10 a.m.

A consumer organisation has been issuing pamphlets to the members of the public, explaining that the Aadhaar card was not an imperative document and the members of the public should not be compelled to register their biometric data.