For those who thought that applying for the Unique Identification Card (UID) got easier after Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) launched a new online service where citizens could book appointments in advance, this story would make you rethink your stance.
On Dussehra, Venkata Satish went to the UID centre near his home after he had booked his appointment a day prior at 5 pm. However, when Satish, a resident of Koparkhairane in Navi Mumbai, reached the centre, he was in for a rude shock as he found that the centre was closed.
An employee of a software company, who was unable to take time out from work, was pleased when he heard of the appointment system that UIDAI had begun and had booked an appointment. “I received a receipt, stating that I should visit Balaji Garden School in Koparkhairane on October 24 at 5 pm. Much to my horror, when I reached there, the centre was closed,” he said.
“I was angry when I realised that my efforts were in vain. When I asked the security guard present, he told me that the UID centre was closed for the entire day. How can the centre remain shut when I was informed to come on that day itself. When I tried calling the helpline number given on the receipt, no one responded, much to my frustration. Owing to the UID authorities’ negligence, I have to suffer,” added Satish.
And Satish’s case is not a lone one. Poonam Vaswani, a professional working in the media industry, had to face a similar inconvenience last month. “I had taken an online appointment for the last Sunday of September.
However, when I reached the UID centre, it was closed. When I called up the supervisor, whose number was given on the receipt, I was informed that the UID centre was closed due to Ganeshotsav. If UIDAI cannot provide service on holidays, it should not book appointments for those days,” said Vaswani.
The other side
Dutta Patne, who is a supervisor for some UID centres in Navi Mumbai, claimed he was unaware of the appointment taken by Satish. “Since it was Dussehra on October 24, the operators were on leave. I received a few calls and told those who called that the centre was shut and arranged a new time slot for them. Had Satish called me before visiting the centre, I would have told him to come another day.” When MiD DAY tried to contact Ajay Bhushan Pande, deputy director general of UIDAI, he remained unavailable for comment. Prashant Singh, assistant director general of UIDAI, who looks after UIDAI operations for Maharashtra, refused to comment on the issue. “I am not authorised to speak to the media so I cannot say anything about the issue,” Singh said.