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Census may need an extra month

Census may need an extra month

One sign that the population of Islamabad has grown exponentially seems to be the difficulties which census teams have been facing  in completing the headcount exercise by the official deadline of May 25.

Officials in the capital’s administration have told The Express Tribune that the authorities may be compelled to extend the deadline for the census in the capital by a month to make sure the exercise is comprehensive.

They, however, have blamed poor planning and underestimations made by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) for this.

Officials from the PBS, the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration and Islamabad Police are thus expected to meet on Tuesday (today), to consider these issues and mull plans to extend the exercise.

An officer familiar with the developments in the ongoing headcount exercise explained that many of the sprawling societies located in the Lohi Bher area had been shown as ‘fields’ in the PBS record when the blocks were drawn ahead of the census. This, the officer – who did not wish to be named – said, led to underestimates when the teams visited these areas and found sprawling housing societies there.

Hence, he suggested, the exercise could be extended by a month in the capital.

Furthermore, the officer said that some of the localities were missing from the PBS record as they had not been included in any block. Some of the blocks will be revised and added, he said.

An officer in the capital administration said that as per the progress made by the enumerators so far, the population of the capital was estimated to be around 2.6 million people – up from previous estimates of

PBS Member Census Habibullah Khan acknowledged that there had been some shortcomings while planning for the census. He said additional blocks were being created and additional staff were being employed on an emergency basis to plug the gaps.

The head count exercise in the capital began on April 25 as part of the second phase of the nationwide activity. It was scheduled to be completed by May 25, though, it now seems likely that the deadline will be extended beyond May.

As many as 652 teams, each team consisting of a civilian and a military official, are taking part in the census in the capital. The city has been divided into 135 circles for counting the number of houses and people living there.

Armed security officials are also accompanying each census team.

The Express Tribune

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