Thursday, November 24, 2011

It’s a mad rush for unique ID applications

Dear Comrades,

CHENNAI: H Abdul Basith of Teynampet was smiling on Wednesday. The retired postal employee, after several futile visits to the T Nagar post office to apply for Aadhar (unique identity card), had finally got hold of an application. "God, it is a mad rushthere," he said. 

Basith is not alone. Hundreds have been thronging the five post offices in the city, including the one on Sivagnanam Street, T Nagar, since October 24 when India Post began issuing the cards along with nationalized banks and insurance companies. "The chaos begins at5.30 in the morning when the security personnel are woken up and asked for applications," said S Samuel, senior post master, T Nagar. The other offices are at Anna Salai, the GPO on Rajaji Salai, Mylapore and ParkTown. 

Before the 12-digit unique identification number, on the lines of the social security schemes in the West, can be provided,images are taken,fingerprints lifted and irises of each individual scanned. 

However, the postal department is unable to cope with the huge demand. While, the Anna Salai office has given away tokens till December 2, those in T Nagar and Mylapore have issued tokens till December 30 and 31. 

Several applicants, from places like Kottivakkam and Medavakkam, have been turned away. "The biometric UID card will be of great use in the future, since it will do away with several other identification cards. I am keen on getting one," said S Anandaraj of Choolaimeduwhowas askedto come later. 

Shortage of manpower and machines has meant that the biometric details of just 45-60 persons can be captured a day at each office. It takes at least eight minutes to capture fingerprints and scan the iris of an individual. For the elderly the process could take about15 minutes. 

India Post, Chennai circle, will procure 25 more machines by mid-December to cover areas such as Adyar, Ambattur, Avadi, Besant Nagar, Anna Nagar, Flower Bazaar and Washermenpet. 

About 96 head post offices in the state will be covered by January. Post offices in all taluk headquarters will get Aadhar kiosks by March. "We plan tosetup mobilecentresfor corporates and government employees," said M S Ramanujan, postmaster general, Chennai circle.

, TNN | Nov 24, 2011, 08.13AM IST

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