HYDERABAD: Amidst a procedural confusion and complaints about a decreased number of blocks, the house count of the sixth population census started in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
The district, which has been undergoing a population upswing due to an ever-increasing stream of internal migrants, has been divided into 71 charges, 339 circles and 2,072 blocks.
Up to 2,630 staff, including charge and circle supervisors and enumerators, who were provided security by some 2,700 policemen in addition to the army and Rangers personnel, undertook the task. The house numbering will continue for three days and the population count will begin from Saturday.
Around half of the district’s population, residential units and other structures will be counted in the first phase while the remaining will be counted in the second, which will start from March 24.
The Pakistan Peoples Party’s Hyderabad division chapter has expressed concerns over the census. “We have received complaints that the teams arrived late in certain areas and left early,” claimed the party’s divisional president, Ali Nawaz Shah, at a press conference. He said the party has also received complaints that some local political leaders were accompanying the census teams.
Qaumi Awami Tehreek’s president, Ayaz Latif Palijo, reiterated the charge of reduced number of blocks in many circles. He said maps of blocks have been formed on the basis of 2009 data. “The census could have been transparent if the PPP’s Sindh government through the revenue department had carried out a new survey and created new maps during many years of its government.”
Plain paper again
A procedural confusion was observed during visits to some parts of the City taluka. Instead of filling form I, given to record data about the number of houses, families and family heads, the supervisors and enumerators were seen recording the data on plain paper.
“We have been instructed to collect data on a plain paper and to fill the forms once we get done with this exercise in the evening,” an enumerator told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.
Another enumerator, who also requested anonymity, said the officials have left it to their discretion whether to fill the form or write on plain paper.
However, Assistant Census Commissioner Abdul Majeed Laghari, an official of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, said they have clearly instructed the supervisors and enumerators to keep filling the form as they proceed with the count.
“We have to count the population – male and female – not the number of blocks,” he added, responding to criticism over the blocks. “So, it doesn’t matter.”
At a press conference, Hyderabad Commissioner Sajid Jamal Abro said that the number of blocks in Hyderabad have been increased by 30% from the 1998 census.