Arunachal post office burns Aadhaar cards to “make way for more cards”

Its Free: Kept Outside The Post Offices, Anyone Can Come And Take Anyone’s Card

“I am still awaiting my Aadhaar card,” read one of the comments posted on Facebook. Sad, scary, loss, serious, doubtful and hopeless were the major keywords. In a Facebook post, Itanagar resident Minggam Pertin has highlighted how “hopeless” the Aadhaar card distribution mechanism is in Arunachal Pradesh.

Posting two pictures that documents Aadhaar cards lying in the open at a post office near Itanagar and many such cards being burnt, Minggam Pertin was saddened to see the cards lying scattered on the floor in the post offices of Itanagar area. “They are being burnt to make space for the next batches in line…Is it not the responsibility of the postal department to deliver these Aadhaar cards to the destined addresses?,” he quizzed. The post office is at Vivek Vihar, adjacent to RK Mission Hospital, Itanagar.

With the Central government’s move to make Aadhaar compulsory in many transactions – which may soon include booking of Railway tickets – the need to have an Aadhaar card has been widely felt. In neighbouring Assam, where Aadhaar cards are yet to be issued, people recently protested the move of the Centre when it tried to make Aadhaar compulsory for availing LPG subsidy. The Centre may have exempted the compulsory citing of the Aadhaar number, but the intention was clear that the unique number will soon be a necessary possession for every citizen.

While Arunachal Pradesh is pushing for complete adoption of Aadhaar, the postal department’s failure to deliver the cards to their addresses and more so the mass destruction of the cards will only lead to further complications as most people complain of not getting the cards even after applying for the same and going through the process of biometric identification.

“My whole family got registered. But, we are still waiting for all the cards. The irony is, whom do we complain?” the Facebook post read. “And I wonder whether my cards are in the above pack or amongst the ashes,” Pertin added.

Commenting on the post, women rights activist Jarjum Ete wrote, “Hope the CEO, UIDA, gets to see these pictures and the up with the Indian Postal Service properly to ensure delivery.”

“I’ve been waiting for my Aadhaar card since last one year and have been to post office four times looking for the same…,” wrote Yamoli Taggu.

Other too vented out their anger and wondered if it’s the postal department because of whom they are yet to receive their cards.

“This is so true… Few months back I too went to the post office to know about Aka’s Aadhaar card and saw the same scene. The irony is that the staff didn’t care when we asked why the cards were lying there and not delivered to the given address. The postal staff simply said that they cannot deliver all of them as the addresses weren’t right,” wrote Lily Pertin. “So when I asked what about the cards where the addresses were right.. I saw some with house number, locality.. I mean proper address.. the staff just smiled and said it’s not his duty… I was so mad.. I just said if they weren’t delivering, they should at least stack them locality wise so that it’s easier to find them,” she added.

Seems the problem isn’t just restricted to the post offices near Itanagar. Giving a similar experience in Pasighat, Jayanto Perme commented, “Few months back in Pasighat, the postal department for their convenience made it a practice for the public to search for their Aadhaar cards from heaps of Aadhaar cards thrown on the floor outside the post office. Anybody could take away anyone’s card. It was free for all and in the process many people’s cards have landed in wrong places.”

Anyone listening?

Have something to add to the story?
Jayanta Deka is a Guwahati-based journalist with more than 5 years of experience working with the Times of India. Tracking new media, technology and politics interest him. He can be reached through: