It has been four days since the dedicated Aadhar card registration centre for sex workers and transgenders was started at a municipal corporation school in Budhwar Peth. However, the response has been underwhelming.
It is not because of the apathy of people from this section of society — which otherwise has to fight hard even to get a ration card — but Saheli, the NGO which works for sex workers and has been given the responsibility to create awareness among them about this initiative, was not kept in the loop.
“We were aware that PMC would soon start the dedicated UID registration centre and we appreciate the step taken by the civic administration. However, PMC officials kept us in the dark about the venue and also didn’t let us know when the initiative was actually started,” said director of Saheli, Tejasvi Sevekari. Saheli alone has around a 1,000 members who are sex workers in the city’s Budhwar Peth red light area.
The UID centre for sex workers and transgenders started on Monday. According to officials, the centre would initially function on a trial basis for 15 days and if the response is positive it will continue to function for another month.
“The officials brought the UID machines on Thursday itself and the sex workers who avail the facility of a crèche in a school, told me that the machines were kept in the school and some activity was going on. However, as they are illiterate they could not tell us that it was a UID centre. After that I sent my volunteers to check and I knew that the UID centre had been started in the school,” said Sevekari. She added that if she had known well in advance, she could collect the necessary documents from the sex workers.
“It will now take some time to gather the sex workers and take them to the centre and I fear that by that time, the centre will close and report a low response of UID seekers,” said Sevekari.
When contacted Aadhar in-charge of PMC, Magesh Joshi assured that the drive will continue even after 15 days of trial.
“I will tell the concerned ward officer to continue the facility even after low response of UID seekers for the next 15 days,” said Joshi.