Gradually, over the last couple of years, we realised that the original birth certificate of our now ten year old was lost. It was a regular, A4 size bond paper printed with the Government of India seal on it and a printed signature of the registrar and carried a fresh blue ink stamp of the authority. That blue made it “original”.
Somewhere over applying for school admissions, passports, visas and similar stuff that called for a birth certificate, the original paper eloped on the pretext of an attested copy. It was never seen again despite serving innumerable summons and cupboard-bookshelf-bags-bagsinsidebags-files ransacks.
We decided to get it reissued even though the child had the passport, aadhar card, a school admission and all that. She was born in Noida and registered in Gautam Budh Nagar. As I looked up I found out tremendous work that has been done in digitizing birth and death records over the last couple of years. But our case was from ten years ago. Secondly, they do not have all districts of Uttar Pradesh covered under this project yet. It sounds encouraging as you are just supposed to fill up the district, the registration number and you get to see the records! It tried all possible combinations. Online tools did not help.
I came across “Jan Suvidha Kendra” in Noida in Sector 19 where the SDM’s office is. On the government website it seemed to offer a lot of help. I tried to learn more about it but there wasn’t much, except for a blogspot page (that claims to represent the authority) that carried a lot of negative responses. Still, the whole deal looked simple and achievable.
One fine rainy morning we decided to land there with the photostat copy (the last one left) of the child’s birth certificate. The Jan Suvidha Kendra is located near the telephone exchange in Sector 19, where perhaps the Income Tax office was also functioning from. It was a typical UP government set-up in an erstwhile school building that had the staff sealed in classrooms and operating out of windows and partially opened doors.
It took 5-10 minutes to figure out our window, stand in a tight bundle of inexistent queue, and be able to speak with the guy. As we spoke the words “birth certificate” he politely slashed a refusal. The service had been moved to a Civil Hospital in Sector-39, effective from March’15. There was also a notice about the same, pasted on his window. But that was for new registrations. We were already registered, only needed a copy from the government.
The person was extremely helpful, compassionate, realistic and creative. He heard us out and ruled out a possibility of getting such kind of record out. At all. As our role demanded, we probed him more and requested him to suggest how we could get it. The fact is that our daughter is registered, ten years ago, has a functional identity, has all other papers except for the original birth certificate. How do we get that? “Sir woh toh mil nahi paayega. Ho nahi sakta” (Sir, that can not be arranged. Not possible), he replied with a very simple solution, “aap ek kaam karo, naya banwa lo. Hospital ke papers hain?” (do one thing, get a new one made. Have hospital papers?). I had all hospital papers but we told him that we did not want to create another registration. It sounded absurd and illegal. The friendly staff went on, “aisa karo, hospital se ek naya discharge slip nikalwa lo. Unke paas sab hota hai, copy hi toh nikalwani hai” (then do one thing, go to hospital and get the discharge slip again and we will see). Yes, that’s what we though before coming to you and we refused. “Toh yeh karo, ghar ka janm dikha do!” (do this, show that the birth happened at home!). This sounded like the limit, and we realised that this Suvidha Kendra was not going to be that suvidhajanak after all. We walked out, of course with random suggestions from onlookers, bystanders and fellow applicants – “banwana toh padega. baki aapki marzi hai” (you would have to get it done, rest all depends on what you really want).
All of this took less than half hour and that was too little the time to make anyone give up on project duplicate birth certificate.
We decided to go to the place where they were doing fresh registrations. Hoping that they would have a better suggestion to make. Our next destination was the Government hospital, near Mahila Police Thana.
After going inside the sector and looking for it at various stops, we finally found the hospital. It is located right on the main road, just above the underpass that connects sector 49-50 to sector 34/25.
The hospital is under construction and there is a very small building that even Google reads as “Makeshift Government Multi Speciality Hospital”. The highest chance is that you would miss it, unless you know exactly where it is. It is next to the Women’s Cell/Police Station in Sector 39, Noida.
As you go inside the small shed-like structure, you’d be directed to the last unit that has the registrar office. You walk to the end and reach the Birth and Death Registration counters in two parallel facing rooms. We walked in.
We explained the case to the gentleman sitting and he was extremely helpful and in a good mood. We were lucky to have reached the right counter of a mid-level manager. He asked us to write an application, attach an ID proof, the copy of the certificate and go to the other room where he would take this request and guide us further.
We got into the other line (a short one) and were asked to fill up a form. Once done, since it was an old case that needed intervention, we were asked to meet the senior manager and get him to sign on the same. The process requires for the authority to accept our application and then we need to pay a sum of Rs. 120 to an SBI branch where they issue a challan towards the same head. We are supposed to get back with the same and present the same to one of the counters and they issue a new certificate.
So now, we are done with the processes and are supposed to collect the certificate on the 24th. All fingers crossed.