S Kushala, Bangalore Mirror
Posted On Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Allegations of the process of issuing Aadhaar cards being hijacked by vested interests out to make a quick buck have been doing the rounds forcing the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to reiterate from time to time that enrollment is free of cost. However, contractors assigned to do the job refuse to mend their ways.
On Sunday, one contractor at an enrollment centre behind the BBMP office in Ramamurthynagar demanded money from about 35 people waiting to enrol. The scene was captured on camera by one member of the enraged public. We reproduce the transcript from the video:
Enroller: Pay Rs 20 per application.
Applicant: What for? The government does not charge any money for Aadhaar enrollment.
Enroller: You have to pay. 5,000 is what the government gives us. Is it sufficient?
(In the video, by now, people can be seen gathered around the enroller)
Public: If 5,000 is not sufficient, then don’t take up this job. You people should fight and ask them to give more salary. You should not be coming and asking us money like this.
Enroller: Okay…Okay… I agree.
Public: What time will you give the tokens?
Public: It’s 8am. Start giving the tokens.
Enroller: It is 7.52am.
Public: Okay. Let us see your efficiency.
Enroller to colleague: Give the tokens. When they come back with applications, ask them to come as per token number.
(In video, citizens resolve among themselves not to give any money)
Public: Don’t do all this. Finish your work and go. Whatever money you want, ask your contractor. From past two days, you people have been taking money. Take the money if someone gives with happiness, for food or tea. Why are you making it compulsory?
Enroller: I am requesting them to give money and I am not forcing anyone.
Public: What request? You should not ask any money from the public.
(In video, the enrollers can be seen fuming and fretting before beginning the process, but in a disinterested manner)
Suraj K, who witnessed the drama, told Bangalore Mirror, “Only after applicants protested did the process begin. Nobody paid up.”
D S Ravindran, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for e-Governance, says citizens can also enroll in post offices and banks. “We have ensured that officers at our (government-run) centres do not demand bribes. I will immediately call a meeting of all the registrars and look into such complaints. We will initiate strict action.”