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KARACHI: The census commissioner of Sindh, Abdul Aleem Memon, has said that the first half of the census process of phase I has been completed in eight districts and one taluka of Sindh where a total of 567 complaints have been received. Most of them were about enumerators not reaching the people.

Mr Memon, who was addressing a crowded press conference here in his office on Thursday, said that the census process would start in the second part of phase I from March 31 and would continue till April 12 and even if by April 12 any house was left out of the census, the people should immediately contact the census department.

Disclosing that during the census two Indian citizens were arrested who were living illegally in Karachi, he appealed to the media and people to extend full cooperation to the census staff.

The Sindh census commissioner, who was accompanied by focal person for census Shaukat Nizam and other officials concerned, said that in the first phase the census had started in six districts of Karachi, district Hyderabad, Ghotki and taluka Sehwan on March 15.

He said in these eight districts and one taluka there were 463 census charges, 2,912 circles and 18,162 blocks and by March 28, 50 per cent census had been covered in these areas.

He said census in 7,276 out of total 14,552 blocks in Karachi had been completed.

Replying to a question, Mr Memon said that during the first phase of the census a total of 1,400 complaints were received across the country while in Karachi alone there were 567 complaints, most of which pertained to failure of enumerators to reach people.

In reply to another question, he said that there was a total ban on use of pencil or photocopied form for census and wherever such complaints were made, severe action had been taken against those involved.

Similarly there was also a total ban on the census staff to ask irrelevant questions not written in the form.

Briefing media persons, focal person Shaukat Nizam appealed to the people to cooperate with the census staff, who were fully trained.

He said if anyone was found giving wrong information, he could be fined Rs50,000 or six months’ sentence, or both.

Replying to another question, he said that the army and other security institutions were fully cooperating with the census process.

He said for the census purpose two forms were being filled, one by the enumerator while the other was filled by the army personnel. Besides, two other personnel would be there for security duty.

He said that so far no untoward incident had been reported from anywhere.

He added that after the completion of the first phase, the second phase would start from April 25 and it would continue till May 25; that part of the headcount would also comprise two phases.

In the second phase 21 districts would be covered in Sindh where 30,838 census blocks were made. He said during the census everyone would be counted who was present at the time of the headcount. However, Afghan-specific localities were not being covered by the census.

Replying to another question, he said in order to ensure transparency in the census process different monitoring teams had been formed including a team of the provincial government for overseeing the census process daily. Besides, he said that a UN team of observers was also overseeing the entire process.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2017