Resistance Hampers Pune’s Maratha Community Survey: Housing Societies Block Entry, Citizens Reluctant To Share Details

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Sumit Singh
Pune, 28th January 2024: The Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes is conducting the survey of Maratha community and open category households to check the social, educational and economic backwardness of the Maratha community through Government Officers and Employees. The survey started from 23rd January, 2024 and it will continue upto 31st January, 2024.

“During this period the appointed officers and staff will have to visit every household to get the information. Designated officers and employees have provided identity cards for survey. A software has also specially prepared for the survey.

During the survey, the information of only Maratha community and open category families will be collected through questionnaire. After the enumerator receives information that the family belongs to the reserved category, no further information will be taken about that family.
Since the duration of the survey is short, the enumerators can come early in the morning or late in the evening for survey.

The commission is appealing to all the citizens to cooperate with the survey by providing necessary information to appointed staff”, states the advertisement published in newspapers by the Member Secretary of Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes, which is operating from the New Administrative Building opposite Council Hall, Camp, Pune.

Maratha survey advertisement published in an English newspaper.
Maratha survey advertisement published in an English newspaper.

The purpose of the survey is to grant reservation as per demands of the community.

However, the ongoing survey is facing significant hindrances as enumerators encounter resistance from residents in various societies.

With the objective of completing the survey of approximately 1.2 lakh houses in the city by January 31, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) deployed 2100 employees for this extensive task. Despite the urgency and the commitment of enumerators working even on weekends and holidays, they are encountering obstacles that impede the progress of the survey.

One major hurdle arises from the denial of entry into large societies, with residents refusing access to enumerators, claiming that they are predominantly from a particular community. Enumerators are being asked to produce a letter from the Municipal Corporation even after showing their identity cards, and in some instances, even after presenting the letter, they are being denied entry.

The situation worsens as consecutive holidays, following Republic Day on Friday, resulted in many houses being closed due to residents being away for vacations. This further impacts the efficiency of the survey, causing delays and challenges for the enumerators.

One enumerator stated, “Even though we carry municipal and government identity cards, some societies insist on instructions from the society chairman before permitting us entry. This bureaucratic process is slowing down our progress significantly.”

PMC letter to housing societies for Maratha community survey.
PMC letter to housing societies for Maratha community survey.

The rejection persists, even when municipal authorities have officially communicated with housing societies, urging them to cooperate with the survey. Notably, in certain societies, the enumerators are subjected to questioning, delaying the overall process.

“A lady from PMC came for the Maratha reservation survey. I was not comfortable giving so much personal information, but she had the PMC ID card and was entering all the details in some form on her mobile. She didn’t know how the information was going to be used; she mentioned she was a teacher who had been assigned this duty. Most of the questions seemed irrelevant to the issue of reservation. Why ask questions about the size of the house, the number of toilets, annual income, etc.? Once I told her I don’t know my caste, any further questions should have been unnecessary,” a resident said.

A businessman from another state, who is settled in Undri area of Pune, was confused about whether it is a government or private survey. “I shooed away the person as I was not sure whether it is a genuine survey or not. Anyway I belong to the open category without any reservation,” he said.

A housing society chairman from Kharadi added, “Many residents in our society were not feeling comfortable about the survey.”

Dr Chetna Kerure, Deputy Commissioner (public relations) of the Pune Municipal Corporation, emphasized the need for citizens’ cooperation, stating, “Up to Saturday evening, 4 lakh 10 thousand families have been surveyed. Where there are obstacles during the survey, our supervisors are immediately talking to the concerned and conducting the survey. Citizens should cooperate with the municipal employees to conduct the survey.”

As the survey deadline approaches, efforts are underway to address these challenges and ensure the comprehensive completion of the Maratha community survey.

Maratha Survey ad in Marathi