Hyderabad shuts down to face survey; but exercise shoddy

Hyderabad reportedly resembled a ghost town on Tuesday, with all shops and commercial establishments, and industry declaring a holiday as the controversial household survey got under way following the division of the former Andhra Pradesh into two states, Telangana and Seemandhra.

Interestingly, liquor outlets were about the only shops to remain open, though all eateries were shut.

Even government hospitals worked with skeletal staff causing great hardship to patients.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao duly filled up his form, while his Seemandhra counterpart Chandrababu Naidu left the job to his private secretary.

But Telugu film star Pawan Kalyan, who extensively campaigned during the polls at the prompting of Narendra Modi, showed the door to the enumerators. An old associate of chief minister KCR, actress turned politician Vijayashanthi, also refused to let in the enumerators. Surveyors found the house of the chief justice of Hyderabad high court Justice K J Sengupta 'locked'.

At the end of the day, not more than 60 per cent of Hyderabad's population had been surveyed and the municipal corporation chief declared that the exercise will be continued on ''another day''.

 Though the city remained indoors in a self-imposed curfew, fearing non- enumeration would lead to problems, the survey itself turned out to be simple.

 KCR exuded confidence that the results of the survey would be ready by the first week of September.

With last minute changes in the enumeration form, the domicile clause was removed and the surveyors did not ask for physical copies of documents such as Aadhaar card and voter cards. Most of the enumerators being college students were well behaved though at some localities they were restive. This was because the municipal authorities had reneged on their promise of a stipend and lunch.

 Enumerators had to face rough weather in many city slums with people that "more than one family lives here and that their details must be recorded". The survey is ostensibly to weed out the fictitious beneficiaries of government schemes but the enumerators did not ask for ration cards anywhere.

Possibly being new to the job, the enumerators asked different questions in different households. Analysts wondered how standardised data would be generated from all the filled up forms. But KCR exuded confidence that the results of the survey will be ready by the first week of September.

Addressing a press conference in the evening, KCR said he was happy about the way the survey – meant to weed out people not entitled to government subsidy schemes - was conducted and said the data would be useful in identifying 'looters and cheaters'.