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Telangana survey: Numbers on ground very high, enumerators struggle

Amidst chaos and confusion the survey aimed at preparing a database of families living in the new state.

Written by Janyala Sreenivas | Hyderabad | Updated: August 20, 2014 9:22 am
 Household survey is under way in a locality in Hyderabad, Telangana on Tuesday. (Source: PTI) Household survey is under way in a locality in Hyderabad, Telangana on Tuesday. (Source: PTI)

Sweating profusely, Panduranga Kumar, a technical assistant in the Telangana Assembly, was running from one street to another in Maktha area of Khairatabad after he suddenly realised that the number of families he had to cover as part of the Intensive Household Survey was much higher than estimated.

“I am supposed to cover 40 houses but when I came here I found that in each two- or three-storey house at least five families live, most of them on rent. That makes it 200 families. I and two associate enumerators — college students — cannot do this in a single day,” said a harried Kumar as he darted from one portion of a two-storey house to another.

At Krishna Nagar in Banjara Hills, Hema Kumari and her team of three ran out of survey forms and was calling her supervisor at Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to rush additional booklets. “Do you think the survey can be completed today? No way,” she said.

Amidst chaos and confusion, the Telangana government’s Intensive Household Survey, aimed at preparing a database of families living in the new state, started across the state on Tuesday, with special focus on Hyderabad. By 4 pm, it was clear that the enumerators were struggling to cover each house. There was chaos because officials who planned the survey underestimated the number of enumerators required for each area.

“Each house was calculated as one unit and one family and we were given targets accordingly. But we find that each house has several portions which the owner has given on rent to several families. Instead of spending 15-20 minutes at each house, we are spending more than one hour. We came at 7 am and by noon we entered details of only four houses having 14 families,” said Nasreen Sultana, a teacher of Government High School at Shaikpet. She and her associate enumerator, a Class X student, had a tough time checking documents and filling up the form as anxious families hovered over them.

At a four-storey building on Raj Bhavan Road, the enumerators simply handed over the survey forms to one resident and asked him to fill up details of all the residents living in the building while they moved to the next house. Faced with the daunting task of writing the details of over 100 families instead of 40 as they were told, enumerators in many areas simply parked themselves in the middle of the street and requested residents to come and give details of their Aadhaar card, ration card, bank account, etc.

“The question of nativity is not there in the form but enumerators still asked for native place,” said Tarachand Jain, a resident of Lakdikapul.

Golconda High School teacher U Chaitanya was peeved that residents of bungalows in Film Nagar took a long time to open doors. “First the watchman asks questions then the servant opens the door and asks more questions. By the time we meet the house owners or residents and start filling up the form 10-15 minutes have passed. Better cooperation was expected from educated people, at least,” he said.

Only families which are already receiving benefits of government schemes like students’ fees reimbursement, monthly monetary aid for physically challenged, etc gave their bank account numbers and other additional details.

The majority of the residents in many areas of Cyberabad, and some parts of Hyderabad, did not divulge details of bank accounts, vehicles owned, property and total income. These are areas where people from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema live. “In Kukatpally, Madinaguda, Kondapur, Chandanagar, Lingampally and Gachibowli where a large population of Seemandhra residents live, they did not show birth certificates or school leaving certificates to enumerators and we did not insist,” a GHMC superviser said.

Officials said that people of Andhra residing in Hyderabad feared that after establishing their identity and area of residence, they would be isolated or targeted by the Telangana government. “A video that is doing the rounds on the internet in which Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao talks of formulating a ‘special strategy’ to deal with ‘duplicates and unwanted elements’ in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts raises fears of ethnic profiling.

In the video KCR is telling district collectors of Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy district that after “brushing them” aside, Telangana can go its way. I think, by “them” he meant Andhra people who live in Hyderabad, and IT corridor in the Ranga Reddy district. It raises concerns,” said Palli Bhaskar, a resident of Hafizpet.

GHMC Commissioner Somesh Kumar said “response for the survey is excellent and there were no problems”. “If there are any complaints we are receiving them through the 24-hour GHMC call centre, SMSes and e-mails,” Kumar said

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