As part of an exercise by the National Population Register, a comprehensive survey has begun in coastal villages of Orissa’s Kendrapara district for issuance of multi-purpose national identity cards to bonafide settlers.

It is a massive exercise of the central government to intensify vigil on coastal villagers in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai in November last year.

As many as 97 coastal villages have been taken up for the survey in conformity with National Population Register (NPR) guidelines, Kendrapara Sub collector Ranjan Kumar Das said.

Altogether 227 enumerators who were subjected to intense training were carrying out the enumeration work and emphasis was being laid to make the enumeration error-free, he said.

While 55 villages of Rajnagar tehsil have come under the project, 42 human settlements from Mahakalpada tehsil have been picked up for the ongoing survey work, Mr. Das said.

Both Rajnagar and Mahakalpada tehsils are regarded as the main centres of illegal Bangladeshi settlements.

“We are expecting to meet the prescribed target and complete the survey-cum-enumeration exercise by January 2010 year”, he added.

The coastal security project is being jointly implemented by the Census Directorate and Union Home department.

Mr. Das said the enumerators would gather detailed information about people residing in coastal villages. The information would include genealogical order of the families, their nativity status and finger prints of those above the age of 15 years.

All this could be used as a multi-purpose ID card instead of the existing voter ID card.

The Multi-purpose National Identity Card is aimed at providing a unique national identity number to each person in the NPR and as part of the effort to beef up maritime security.

This unique national identity number will be assigned to each individual including those below 18-years of age.

Photographs and fingerprints of people above 15 years are being taken to prepare the biometric smart cards which would be provided to those above 18 years of age,” said Mr. Das.

Photographs and fingerprints of people above 15 years were being taken as they would be attaining 18 years by the time smart based ID cards were provided to them,” he added.

As the country is preparing for the 2011 census, implementation of NPR would be a great help. The government is also planning to merge preparation of the electronically guided NPR with the next census, official sources said.

Besides photographs and fingerprints, ID cards would also have the address, nationality and personal data of the citizen. This can be useful in identifying illegal immigrants and terrorists using the sea route, the sources said.