It is a long wait for thousands of people in Ongole and other places in Prakasam district at the limited number of Aadhaar Service Centres (ASC), bank branches and post offices which process the requests for updating the details of Aadhaar cards.
While the authorities insist on possession of Aadhaar cards and their verification digitally by every member of a family to get their quota of essential commodities through the PDS (public distribution system) outlets located anywhere in the country, denizens are forced to run from pillar to post to complete the eKYC process.
Apart from limited centres, technical glitches and absence of COVID-19 safety behaviour add to their concerns.
While the staff at the ASC work at odd hours, service-seekers, including children, often sleep in front of the post office and five Aadhaar Permanent Enrolment Centres for biometric identification.
Sporting a mask, a nine-year-old girl standing in a serpentine queue at the head post office expresses her disappointment as she could not get the token for more than a week now to complete the eKYC and integrate it with the Aadhaar card.
“Only 75 tokens are issued per day,” laments the girl’s father K. Srinivasa Rao who has come from Vetapalem for the 10th day in a row. There are many who face the same situation every day.
“Most of us have no option but come back again the next day,” says another girl Anjali who has come to link her mobile phone with the Aadhaar card from remote Aluru village.
The situation is worse at the post office in Markapur as only 25 tokens are issued per day, remarks a denizen K. Ramakrishna while observing the stampede-like situation there and expressing fears that this could lead to spread of COVID-19.
“We work beyond the regular working hours, yet we are not able to do justice to all the people waiting for eKYC,” says a staffer at the post office.
There is no guarantee that those with tokens can get their work done without a hitch. “Even after getting a token most of us have no option but to wait for long hours,” adds Venkateswarlu, waiting in the queue.
“The server is slow now. The server is down. You have to wait. We cannot be faulted for this,” are the replies people get when they seek early processing of their requests.
The number of Aadhaar enrolment centres should be increased to cover all the mandals, opines Forum for Good Governance former president Sunkara Saibabu.