Faulty PCs behind lag in Navi Mumbai Census

Phase III of the NMMC Census is six months behind schedule as 239 of the 700 tablet PCs are not functional

After successfully concluding the first two phases of the ongoing Census on time, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) is yet to start the third phase of the socio-economic and caste based Census. The six-month lag has been attributed to the delay in the procurement of sufficient tablet PCs, and the recruitment of manpower to operate them. Further, a number of the tablets that the NMMC has been given are riddled with technical snags.

Spanner in the works: Of the 700 tablet PCs that BHEL provided to
NMMC, 239 are ridden with technical hiccups

In Navi Mumbai, the census was scheduled to be held in two phases, October 2 to November 11 and November 18 to December 31. The NMMC had reportedly made all the preparations to carry out the census. The task of procuring the 700 tablets needed for the job and hiring the data operators for the corporation was assigned to BHEL. However, the corporation could not go ahead with the census as BHEL reportedly failed to provide the tablet PCs on time. When it did deliver the 700 tablets, 239 were found to be in a non-working condition.

Suresh Patil, deputy municipal commissioner, NMMC, said, "We could not start the third phase of census in October as we did not receive tablet PCs from BHEL. Now that we have received the 700 tablet PCs, some have broken down. At present, we have 461 tablets in working condition. We are also waiting for the recruitment of the data operators to operate the tablets."

As per NMMC's estimation, some 550 operators are required to operate the 461 working tablets. The data collected in the first two phases will be fed in the tablet PCs.

The enumerators and operators will simply have to add the categories of caste and economic background to the existing information.

The data will then be collected at the central information center of NMMC in Vashi, and sent to the state. BHEL claims that recruitment of data operators and fixing of the damaged tablets will be done in the next few days.

Vijay Kumar, district coordinator from BHEL said, "We are in the process of fixing the snags in the tablet PCs. All repaired ones would be given to the corporation in a week's time. Also, we have recruited over 300 data operators so far and we will recruit required number of data operators in next few days. We expect the census to start on February 2."

Anil Mulay, deputy director of the municipal administration department, said, "Due to the delay in the procurement of the tablets PCs, the Census could not get started on time. However, we will be able to finish the process soon by adding extra manpower."

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