It's the same story every election. The voter turn-out in south Mumbai is rarely more than 48-50 per cent. A concerned district collector's office has now started a pilot project to bring out more SOBO voters during the forthcoming Assembly elections.
Photo ID cards, the Form 16 required as verification for the ID, and all other election-related verification material is just a click away for south Mumbai voters. "They have to log onto www.mumbaicityelection.org for details. We plan to start the pilot project from next week," Sanjay Bhagwat, deputy district Election Officer and deputy collector told DNA.
"A voter can check details of his or her constituency, serial number, photo I-card and other material, and also apply for an I-card or a photo online. He just needs to use a webcam to upload his pictures, according to instructions issued," he added.
Once the district office receives details of the voter, it will process it and inform the voter. The voter can also verify the status of the I-card on the internet.
In mid-July, an SMS service was started by the city collector's office. "Till now, they have received 500 messages from voters, requesting details. The office receives more and more queries from suburban voters and organisations every day," an officer from the collector's office said.
SOBO voters continue to be indifferent, sources in the collector's office say. Interestingly, according to figures available with the Mumbai district collector's office, only 53.5 per cent of them have a voter ID card.
"No summary revision has been done since 2000, when there was a move for de-limitation. Many voters have either died since then, and many new ones have come of age but not been registered. But voters, too, need to update their information regularly. They need to fill up the form 7 to indicate a death in the family, and inform the election officer," Bhagwat said.
The city district office says it will try its best to make it easier to access I-card. Besides these new projects, the election office will keep cameras and computers on stand by at important stations like Dadar, Churchgate and CST, to take photos. "We will go out of our way to help voters get their cards. Their photos will be taken, and they will get their cards on the spot," said Bhagwat. He added: "This project will be replicated in the suburbs and other parts of the city if the south Mumbai part succeeds."