Senior citizen Vaman Nayak was waiting along with five other elderly family members since 8.30 a.m. on Thursday at the Mangaluru taluk sub-registrar’s office to execute a sale deed. His turn did not come even at 12.30 p.m., as the staff were attending to Wednesday’s appointments that were affected by server problems.
Mr. Nayak was among many waiting to get documents registered at the SRO, where nearly 2,000 appointments are pending.
While the government is encouraging senior citizens to stay indoors during COVID-19 pandemic, it is surprising they were made to wait in a crowded place, quipped Rajesh Kumar, a citizen. “The government’s apathy in addressing the issues affecting registration is deplorable,” said Surekha Rao, an advocate.
Despite the department generating huge revenue, little was done to speed up the process.
Advocate Manjunath said the delay had affected hundreds of people who were in dire need of finances. While many were going for mortgage loans to fight COVID-19, delayed mortgage registration had led banks to cancel sanctioned loans.
Taluk Sub-Registrar Basheer Ahmed told The Hindu that the office was crippled by severe crunch of infrastructure and manpower. “We feel helpless when people return without completing their work.”
Starting from shortage of computer operators to old computer systems, from flawed BSNL internet connectivity to repeated server problems, officials at the SRO were fighting many odds, Mr. Ahmed said. While there were only three government staff — the SRO, a second division assistant and a Group D staff — the computer operators work was on outsourcing basis.
Though the demand was more, the office could register about 50 documents a day under COVID-19 conditions where online appointments were given. “We have given appointments till October 21 and stopped thereafter.” Whenever registration was affected for one or the other reasons, the backlog piles up affecting fresh appointments, he rued.
District Registrar Raveendra L. Pujar said the system of one-time password (OTP) to prevent impersonation had led to some delay in registration. Attempts were being made to clear the backlog, he said, adding there was one month waiting for registration at the Taluk SRO that handles bulk of registrations among nine SROs in Dakshina Kannada.
No social distancing
With people eager to get their documents registered huddling together inside a small hall, social distancing as a precaution to prevent COVID-19 has been given a go-by at Mangaluru Taluk Sub Registrar’s office.
Located on the first floor of Mini Vidhana Soudha at Hampanakatte, the SRO is visited by people of Mangaluru taluk outside the city limit and excluding Mulki and Moodbidri SRO jurisdiction.