The collection of biometric data for resident identity cards under the National Population Register (NPR) is way behind schedule in the city.
The revenue department of the Chennai Corporation, which shoulders the responsibility of collecting the data, has so far managed to profile just 3.93 lakh residents in Chennai district.
The project to collect biometric data such as fingerprints and iris scans, and photographs of 41.53 lakh residents in the district commenced on December 12, 2012. The deadline is September 2013. Work in many newly-added areas of the Chennai Corporation is yet to begin.
“Senior citizens are forced to wait for hours for biometric data collection. Only 60 to 70 persons are screened daily,” said Annamalai, a resident of Seven Wells, who took part in the data collection drive recently.
Work is under way in the city in zones of Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Teynampet and Kodambakkam. “Biometric data collection will begin in Anna Nagar next week. Work in Adyar and Thiru.Vi.Ka Nagar will also begin this month,” said M.R.V. Krishna Rao, joint director of census operations.
Residents in a number of localities said they were unable to submit biometric data even after waiting for hours at the Chennai Corporation offices. “Many of us had to return home without registering the data. Waiting at the Corporation offices braving the summer heat is an ordeal,” said a resident of K.K. Nagar.
Revenue department officials, however, said lack of awareness on the part of residents was one of the reasons for the delay in collection of the data. The residents did not stick to the schedule of enumerators in their respective blocks, said a Corporation official.
The enumerators fix a day for data collection in each locality. But most residents do not visit the biometric operators on the stipulated date. So, there are crowds in some centres and barely any visitors in others, the official said.
Also, many residents who have received Aadhar numbers are under the wrong impression they do not have to register for this project. This adds to the confusion, the official said.
Chennai residents above the age of five years are being covered under the NPR project. Officials have begun creating awareness among residents, informing them that even those who have obtained Aadhar numbers have to provide details under the NPR project to get smart cards. The cards will help people avail the benefits of government welfare schemes in a few years.
Those without Aadhar will be provided one after registering for the NPR smart-card project. It is however voluntary.