At 5.30 on a Saturday evening, the narrow lanes of Kakrola ward bordering Dwarka are still deserted. The residents are still in their afternoon slumber. Next to a local kirana store, a white Maruti Omni plastered in multicolored text stops. Suddenly, there is flurry of activity. From inside, three men emerge and quickly go about their business. One walks to the store and asks for a socket to plug in an extension cord. The others bring out two stools, a table, a set of speakers, a laptop and other equipment. Hurried shouts run through the colony. “They have come, bring your documents,” they say. The “chalta phirta office” has arrived.
Plastered on all sides of the vehicle are two smiling faces — those of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the MLA of Matiala constituency, Gulab Singh. The writing on the car also mentions two things that the “chalta phirta office” simplifies for residents in the area — registration of aadhar card and voter id’s.
“The car was used for campaigning before the elections. I was thinking of how to put it to use now and hit upon this idea. Matiala has 3.6 lakh voters and is the largest constituency in terms of population. It is at least 30 to 32 kms in area. The biggest challenge was to reach out to people who need to get work like this done and there is no solution better than this. Maybe even the government can think about implementing it,” Singh said.
The team consists of a driver, a member of the constituency “IT” team and a volunteer in-charge of the initiative. The team also has plans to acquire another car soon. In the 10 days that the concept has been implemented, volunteers claim they have received 3,000 applications for voter id’s and aadhar cards.
“A day before visiting an area, another team is sent out to a ward — according to a schedule that is mapped out — to announce that the office will be coming. Residents are asked to keep their documents ready,” Cheenu Singh, a volunteer with the party, said.
Gulab Singh said the “chalta phirta office” has become a new way to collect complaints from people across the constituency. “While we have opened offices everywhere, there are as many as 34 villages in the constituency. People often have to take buses and travel for over an hour to reach either a government office which would have voter registration or the party office for complaints,” Singh said.
Minutes after he sits on a stool in front of the laptop that captures his picture for the aadhar card, Radhe Shyam Yadav says, “I only get to stay at home during weekends and I spend the rest of the week away at work. The office is far away and this is a wonderful initiative. My wife told me yesterday that they would come. I will finally have an aadhar card soon.”
Volunteers will soon offer printouts of pension papers and ration cards in the “offices”.