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Census: Enumerators come up with unique solutions to problems

Enumerators conducting the national census across the city are encountering a variety of problems and are devising their own methods to solve them.

Written by Sharvari Patwa | Mumbai | May 16, 2010 12:52:04 am

Enumerators conducting the national census across the city are encountering a variety of problems and are devising their own methods to solve them.

Take Uttam Bandgar for instance,who has census duty in Shivaji Nagar Govandi. To make sure he gets the correct replies to queries,he visits blocks a day in advance and requests residents to keep election card or other proof of birth etc. ready so that when he comes calling the next day,the work will be easier.

“I have to ensure I take down the correct names,as these are the names that will be recorded in the unique identity cards,” says Uttam Bandgar.

“I also tell them to repeat their name and spelling thrice. I also ask them to not get angry? This way I ensure I write down the correct name. I tell people I can hear properly but still,to be sure,I ask them again. Most of the time nobody minds,” says Bandgar.

Some areas where enumerators are facing difficulty are Sonapura and Kamathipura. Although late evenings are the easiest for census duty as most residents are home,the time is also fought with risks,says Trupti Nagaonkar. “My sister-in-law accompanies me to the areas I visit in the evening as it is not safe for a woman to go there alone,” says another enumerator.

For Lata Chatwani,not very well versed in Marathi,her friend has come to her rescue. “My friend accompanies me when I am on census duty and where I find my lack of proper Marathi might affect my work,” said Chatwani.

Bandgar also found a pattern while conducting the census. “One common query which men find difficult to answer is the name of the wife’s father,” said Bandgar. “As we usually cannot ask the wife directly,the man first asks his wife the full name of her parents and then tells us,” says Bandgar.

Enumerators also stick a chit to doors,with Census 2010 written on it. This means they will come knocking at their door the next day. “This is a way of informing residents out on work that an enumerator had come calling,” said Jyoti Kulkarni.

“Many a time,we befriend the chairman of the housing society so that handling the area becomes easy. He often accompanies us when we are on census duty,” says M M Hade,another enumerator.

The administration has announced ‘early bird prizes’ for the first 100 enumerators finishing census duty earliest. Already three enumerators have finished 150 houses in the G North Ward,says Manisha Mhaiskar,Additional Municipal Commissioner. In addition to the top 100 prizes,5-10 people from every ward,who have completed their work earliest,will be awarded a certificate and a memento,said Mhaiskar.

“These prizes are a gesture to honour the promptness and spirit of enumerators,” she said.

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