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The 'Teen Talwar' monument draped in traditional Sindhi ajraks. -Photo by Taimur Sikander/Dawn.com

KARACHI: The first phase of the 2011 census will get under way with the start of a house count across Sindh as elsewhere in the country on Tuesday.

This is the sixth census in Pakistan since 1951. This exercise is being conducted every 10 years since its beginning in 1881 in the subcontinent. In Pakistan, this 10-year cycle was first disturbed in 1971 due to the war and in 1991 when the exercise was called off and finally conducted in 1998.

During the first phase, which will be completed by April 19, the staff on census duty will mark household number and fill the required data in columns of the forms that have been printed in the Urdu and Sindhi languages as per practice since the beginning of census in the country.

The census commission authorities, who remained busy explaining its procedure and process to elected representatives and government functionaries last week, have already handed over the entire work to district administrations, where the respective district coordination officers will act as coordinators and deputy district officers as census district officers, while in cantonments the executive officers concerned will work as census officers.

Sindh province, where census work of house listing will start along with other provinces on Tuesday, till Monday afternoon remained without its census commissioner as the federal establishment division, Islamabad, had not issued a notification for the appointment of Noor Muhammad Leghari, the secretary of social welfare department, who had been designated by the Sindh government for the office.

Twenty thousand enumerators, who have been provided necessary training of house listing, will start work in the province according to the schedule.

The enumerators will be visiting houses, preferably, at a time when the family head is available so as to get all the required information. In addition to census forms, a separate form has been provided to them by the election commission. The forms have two columns — one regarding the number of household and the other for the computerized national identity card number of the head of family only — for updating electoral lists.

According to Joint Census Commissioner of Sindh Farooq Baloch, every enumerator will cover two to three blocks over the next 15 days. Since every block has between 200 and 250 housing units, each enumerator will be covering between 600 and 750 houses during this phase.

He said that every enumerator was supposed to report his work progress to the DDO Revenue concerned.

About the delay in notification of Mr Leghari as Census Commissioner Sindh, he said the notification might have been issued in Islamabad but his office had not received it by 5pm on Monday.

However, he said, he was optimistic that the notification would be made public by the time the census began.Mr Baloch said the housing census would provide the baseline for the actual census of population that was likely to begin by the end of August or in early September.

In reply to a question, he said that if anyone found their house unmarked after the completion of the first phase on April 19, they could file a complaint at the census control room for rectification of anomaly.

Mr Baloch said that in Sindh, there were 35,296 census blocks and 7,194 circles and every circle had seven blocks and every block had between 200 and 250 housing units. These blocks were marked by the district administration with the assistance of the revenue department.