Bibewadi resident Shyama Acharekar (name changed to protect identity) has been doing the rounds of the local Aadhaar enrolment centre for over a month now. But she hasn’t had any luck so far. The ragpicker’s pleas are shot down every time by the executives at the office, who say they can’t secure her fingerprints as are hands are badly scratched up – an occupational hazard.
Though it’s a perplexing problem, Shyama is not the only one facing such issues. MiD DAY has learnt that many people working as daily wage labourers are confronted with similar problems while trying to get Aadhaar enrolment. Just like Shyama, intense physical toil has left them with scarred hands and scraped fingers, thus making it difficult for the representatives at UID centres to obtain their prints.
Laxmi Narayan, general secretary of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, pointed out that labourers and the poor are expected to be the primary beneficiaries of the Aadhar Yojana.
“Labourers are being ill-treated by officials at the UID enrolment centres. One of the members of my organisation, who resides in Chinchwad, is a leprosy patient. UID officials say they are facing problems obtaining her fingerprints because of the disease,” Narayan said.
She claimed that officials had told such labourers to come back after month so in the interim they could confer with their superiors for a possible solution to overcome the problem. “But it seems they haven’t succeeded, as ragpickers like Shyama are still forced to come to the enrolment centres repeatedly,” said Narayan.
District Aadhaar in-charge Apurva Wankhede said she was aware of such cases and measures to deal with them were being put in place.
“Two such incidents had occurred last month, wherein labourers were asked come back to complete enrolment procedure at a centre. We immediately looked into the matter and asked the officials to prepare separate forms for such people,” she said.
‘Where is Aadhaar?’
Quarry worker Bastu Rege said there were about one lakh such labourers and members of nomadic tribes, entitled to register under Aadhaar Yojana, following which they would become beneficiaries of several government schemes. But he alleged that not a single enrolment machine had reached their settlements.
Rege said he would now be taking up the matter with the higher authorities regarding the apathy exhibited towards them by the administration.
A fingerprint expert from Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said hardened palms and fingers because of excessive manual work lead to unclear prints.
“Tracing such fingerprints is an arduous task. The committee for Aadhaar must quickly find a solution to the problem rather than making the poor run from pillar to post,” he said.