A day before Ghaziabad goes to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, a number of residents, especially those living in high-rises, have complained that they still haven’t received their voter ID cards or received an ID with wrong information printed on it.
However, residents can still cast their vote by producing any of the 11 other identity cards like passport, driving license, bank and post office passbook, Aadhar card, pension documents with photo, MNREGA job card, health insurance smart card, and a letter issued by MLA and MP confirming voter's identity.
The residents have questioned that why the administration wasted their time and efforts when they couldn’t ensure that renewed ID cards would be delivered on time and the residents will not have to depend on other identity proofs to cast their vote.
The residents of ATS Advantage, a high-rise in Indirapuram, had filled around 1,500 voter ID forms, out of which only 531 IDs have been issued, claimed Sanjay Jain, president of AOA of the society.
Similarly, in Niho Scottish Garden, a high-rise in Indirapuram, 250 forms were filled but only 64 IDs have been issued, claimed DK Maurya, president of AOA of the society. “I had filled the form thrice but still haven’t received the voter ID card,” claimed Dimple Balwani, a resident of Niho.
The residents say the situation is the same in all high-rise of Ghaziabad, especially in Indirapuram, Raj Nagar Extension and Crossings Republik.
“A large number of residents have not received their voter IDs after continuous follow ups. Not a single member of five to six families who are in touch with me have received their IDs till date," said Sunil Panchal, a resident of KW Srishti, Raj Nagar Extension.
Residents say too many events, too less efforts
“All this happened because the entire focus of the district administration was on increasing the voting percentage and not the infrastructure. The whole concept of Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) seems farcical when the basic requirement is not met,” commented a resident of ATS on the condition of anonymity.
“Instead of spending lakhs of rupees on various events, the administration could have worked on rectifying these errors,” said Kaushik Ghosh, a resident of Regaliya Heights in Shipra Sun City.
Shyamal Chanda, president of AOA Gulmohar Garden, a high-rise in Raj Nagar Extension, claimed that after consistently following up with booth level officer (BLO) of his area for two years, 65% of voter ID forms were turned into the cards. “This is when we had set up six to seven voter ID camps in the past two years,” said Chanda.
Residents said that one of the reasons for this problem is unreachability of BLOs of their area.
City Spidey tried to contact BLOs of Ahinsa Khand I, II and Raj Nagar Extension but their numbers were either switched off or not reachable or they didn't answer the calls.
However, Tehseeldar Sadar, Pravartan Sharma refuted these claims. He said that over 99% of the total voter IDs have been made. “Leaving aside the areas of remote connectivity, all cards in Ghaziabad have been made and delivered, especially in Indirapuram, Raj Nagar and Crossings Republik,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abhinav Jain, a councillor of Vaibhav Khand and president of BJP’s Indirapuram Mandal acknowledged the problem. “I have assisted in filling thousands of forms in the area but only half of them have been turned into voter ID cards,” he said.
Faulty ID cards
A resident of SCC Saphhire requesting anonymity said that her voter ID card was made thrice, that too, with different serial number.
Similarly, Saket Jain, a resident of Rishabh Cloud 9, Indirapuram, said that his name on ID is mentioned as Sanket. “This is so annoying,” he quipped.
Shivani Jain, a resident of Sun Tower in Shipra Sun City, claimed that her name was misprinted even after filing for correction. “What is the use of this card? It is a mere electoral document that needs to be supported by other government-approved IDs to verify your identity,” Shivani said.
Vikas Kumar, a resident of SCC Sapphire in Raj Nagar Extension, received a voter ID with his residence mentioned as SCC Heights, which is a different project.
Mismanagement in delivery
Vikas said that many residents in the society had their cards delivered to nearby societies. “My card was also delivered to SCC heights. My case is different as the address was misprinted, but there are many residents of my society whose cards were delivered to nearby societies like Savvy Ville De and SCC Heights,” said Vikas.
“Thankfully, the management of these societies were cautious enough to inform us, otherwise we would have lost them,” he added.
A source within BJP working closely with BLOs said that the situation has arisen because of the staff crunch in the district administration. The information was put haphazardly, he told.
However, Tehseeldar Sharma said that the issues have occurred because the cards were made in Chennai. “The software which prints the data on the card is available in Chennai. We merely send the records from here,” he said. Meanwhile, he did not comment on the issue of staff crunch.
While 10 other photo identity cards are valid to cast your vote alongside Voter ID, the utility of this card is not limited to elections. From opening bank accounts to buying a sim card, it’s widely accepted everywhere. The card is also used as a document to make other important documents such as driving license and Aadhaar Card.
Some good news
On the other hand, there are societies where 100% cards have been delivered or the difference in voter IDs received and forms filled is very low.
Alok Kumar, president of federation of apartments owners association (FedAOA) claimed that all the cards in his society, Arihant Harmony, Indirapuram, have been delivered. Similarly, Nitin Agarwal, secretary of Saya Zenith, Indirapuram, said that out of 400 forms filled, 380 cards have been delivered.