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Covid Threat: Biometric authentication leaves employees and people scared

Srinagar, July 19: The decision of Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs in Kashmir Valley to continue with biometric authentication for the public distribution system (PDS), popularly known as fair price or ration shops, in all districts have created fear among employees as well as common people.

The biometric authentication had been suspended in wake of current Covid-19 pandemic.

An employee wishing not to be named said when everyone says no to the biometric authentication system to prevent Coronavirus, the situation for officials in Kashmir, particularly in the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs is altogether different.

“There are so many people mostly ignorant of Covid-19 infection who don’t make use of sanitizers during the process of biometric authentication at points of sale. This is a serious concern and keeping the alarming situation in view this biometric authentication should be suspended,” he said.

Some PDS dealers and beneficiaries told news agency KNT that biometric authentication can lead to spread of the infection if it is not managed properly. Some locals from South Kashmir’s Anantnag district alleged that they were told that they shall get their ration from their respective sale depots via biometric system only, where the ration card holder has to put their thumb impression on the machine.

Assistant Director Food for Southern district Anantnag, Wali Muhammad said that the department is upgrading and updating the Aadhar for identification, where the family has to authenticate the head of the family for the purpose. “Certain errors in Aadhar have crept in and to rectify those, we have started biometric authentication.”

People urged the administration to suspend biometric authentication as a precautionary measure to prevent possibility of spread of Covid infection which can easily spread through touch of objects like bio-metric machines.

Director Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Bashir Ahmed told KNT that after and before the biometric authentication, one should use sanitizer properly. “Sanitizers are available at sale points and people should make use of them,” he added.

Pertinently, earlier Director FCS&CA had said that there is no biometric authentication procedure in vogue.

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