CHENNAI: Eager to make themselves counted in the historic ‘Samagra Kutumba Survey’ of the newest State of India, hundreds from Chennai are rushing to their hometowns in Telangana to be there for the survey on August 19.
The Intensive Household Survey 2014, undertaken by the nascent Telangana government, aims to create a database of all households, based on which welfare assistance like subsidised ration, pension, Aarogyasri benefits, fee reimbursement etc will be disbursed in future. There is no clarity if all family members need to be present for the survey, but no one wants to take a risk.
At the Central Railway Station, the crowd was swelling by the minute on Friday evening. There were long queues to board trains, many travelling in groups of 30-100, and almost all without a reserved ticket. While there are daily trains that stop at major Telangana cities like Hyderabad, Warangal and Khammam, getting reserved seats at such short notice is close to impossible.
Many came to know about the survey only two days ago and thus couldn’t reserve tickets. The long weekend has only made matters worse.
“I’m rushing back to my native Mangapet in Warangal district to be counted in this survey. But my ticket was not confirmed,” said Srinivas, a 38-year-old employee of a kirana shop in Sowcarpet. He managed to find space for himself, wife and two children in the congested general compartment of Charminar Express.
But the journey home does not end there. Many hail from interior villages and towns that do not have direct train links from Chennai and would have to travel a further few hours by bus from Hyderabad or Warangal. For instance M Shrikant, a 20-year-old aeronautical engineering undergraduate, would have to travel six hours by bus from Hyderabad to get to his native, Nizamabad.
Some did manage to get a few days leave for the purpose, but not all. A 29-year-old software engineer said he had not informed his boss. “I was told that it was critical that every member of the household be there in person. It is very inconveniently scheduled on a Tuesday, but I don’t want to take a risk,” he said.
According to Venkateshwarlu who manages a trust in the city, few people who haven’t been able to get tickets on trains or buses have hired vans to ferry them to their natives and back the next day for a charge of `1,200 per person. “Those who could afford it, left on Thursday to make use of the extended weekend,” he added.
Estimates say there are over 1.50 lakh Telangana residents working who had migrated to the city to work in professions ranging from software to security and sales. Many are students here. In all, there are an estimated 84.20 lakh households in Telangana. During the survey, the enumerators would conduct two pre-visits on August 17 and 18 where a list of 18 documents, including LPG connection book, water bill, property document, vehicle registration book etc would have to be shown in person by members of the household.
Many who have been away from their native place for years fear that absence on the day could mean loss of identity as a ‘Telangana’ resident. “All this is being done for us. So the least we can do is to be present there,” said Shrikant.