Hoardings across the city inform citizens that a plethora of services — from LPG cylinder supply to bank services — will be linked to the all-important Aadhaar identification number. And rumours of an early start on making Aadhaar number mandatory for each LPG delivery have triggered panic among citizens, who over the past month have been flocking to Aadhaar centres.
On any given day, the numbers of people standing in queue outside a majority of Aadhaar centres far outnumbers the capacity of the centres. Each one of the 412 centres in Bangalore has not more than three or four stations catering to the hundreds that queue up from the break of dawn. Some centres have toyed with the idea of online appointments, but citizens say that this has only added to the chaos.
Ramana M., a resident of Whitefield, took an online token last week for an appointment at a nearby Aadhaar centre. When he reached there, he ended up having an altercation with irate citizens who thought that he was cutting the queue. “Nothing is streamlined at these centres. There is one counter where the online appointments are booked but because there is no clear demarcation for this station (at the centre), people tend to get angry,” he said.
Others, who have tried to book appointments online, say that the booking process is tough to get through, and the slots are at any given time booked for a week ahead.
A visit to Aadhaar centres on Friday revealed a picture of utter chaos. Many of the centres visited were closed. Upon enquiry, those running the centres said that this was due to confusion over whether centres could be open when the Election Code of Conduct was in place. None of the centres had any notification or information on when they would re-open, or provided any assistance to citizens on alternatives.
Abhay J. Simha, a student from Christ University, who was at the Banaswadi centre, told The Hindu that the process had been strenuous. At another centre in Shivajinagar area, angry residents say that most of them have had to visit at least five times before they could actually participate in the enrolment. To make things worse, they allege, those working in these centres were running a parallel appointment system.
“The boy working here seems to bring his people and allow them to cut the queue,” said Velu, a bank employee.
Post offices better
Things are better at the post offices, where the system, though busy, appears to be more streamlined. Most post offices have only one enrolling station. However, the token system followed there appears to be more methodical. At the Nandini Layout post office, 60 tokens are issued per day. A post master there complains that people take tokens and do not come at the allotted time, creating problems. Arsha Vardhan, who was awaiting her turn at the Mahalakshmi Layout Post office, said that she tried at the other centres but she had to wait for over four hours only to return disappointed. The post offices are more organised, she said.
Though the UIDAI says that it has a proper system in place to deal with corrections once the numbers are issued, citizens find it tough to get this addressed.
N.S. Vishwanath, a senior citizen, said that he had been trying repeatedly to get an error on his wife’s card corrected. She is 60 but her card states that she is 19.