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Corpn. loses valuable documents

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The Hindu        03.05.2017  

Corpn. loses valuable documents

Perils of neglect:Officials said the shifting of documents was not properly supervised.Special Arrangement  

Records relating to birth and death were shifted during renovation; some of the data could be lost

Invaluable documents relating to data on births and deaths in the Chennai Corporation region were damaged after they were shifted to another location in Ripon Buildings.

On Tuesday, labourers hurriedly shifted the records that were stacked up in neat piles, reducing them to a disorderly heaps of paper haphazardly placed one on top of the other.

In the process, many files were damaged, papers were torn and records lost.

According to sources in the Chennai Corporation, the existing records were shifted to facilitate the renovation of the building.

“Some officials decided to shift the records to another building, but the new location was not suited for the preservation of the documents. Also, the labourers shifted the documents without proper supervision,” said an official of the Corporation.

While a portion of the birth and death records are housed in zonal offices of the civic body, most of the records have been preserved in Ripon Buildings.

Previous damage

As much as 5% of the 2,600 books in the birth and death department were already damaged earlier, affecting the scanning of the documents for digitisation, the work for which started in 2015.

The digitisation work is almost complete and the checking of the quality of the scanned documents is under way. If the scanned copies are found blurred, the officials will have to repeat the process.

If the data in the documents damaged on Tuesday has not been properly recorded during the scanning, it could be lost forever, officials said.

Officials of the Corporation said the checking of the quality of the digitisation of birth and death records will be completed in one month. At least 20 lakh pages have been scanned.

“Even after digitisation, we will preserve the books in the birth and death department. Physical records are always the most reliable,” said an official.