Suraj is on his way back to Nagpur. On 16th of July, he and his team of
8 field investigators had arrived in Chandrapur, a city approximately
170 km from Nagpur, close to the Maharashtra - Chattisgarh border.
Suraj and his team were to administer the survey on the 314 households which
form part of the CMIE panel of households in the city. Out of these,
data for 280 households was collected and data for 225 households was
validated and uploaded. Rest of the households were to be uploaded on 25th
July. Once the entire data for Chandrapur was validated and uploaded,
Suraj and his team would travel to Yavatmal.
It has been raining continuously in Chandrapur. Chandrapur is a developed
city with good infrastructure. There are coal mines around the city.
The city also has a cement factory. There is a thermal power plant
in the vicinity which supplies electricity to Mumbai. In and around
Chandrapur, turmeric is cultivated in large quantities. But,
the city has limited facilities for higher education. Most of the
students travel to bigger cities such as Pune, Mumbai or Nagpur for pursuing
Suraj had an incident while surveying households in Chandrapur. He
and two of his field investigators were caught by a neighbourhood
watch. The trio was on its way to survey a middle income locality in
Jagatpur, Chandrapur. It was after dusk. The households in this area
had scheduled the survey towards evening around 8 pm. The locality had
recently been a victim of thefts. Three households had been robbed in the past
ten days. The residents had setup a neighbourhood watch to thwart any
When the trio reached the area, they were stalked and confronted by
a group of six. They asked the team for their identity cards and the purpose
of visiting the area so late. However, apparently staying awake through the
night to prevent the entry of uninvited guests is not a very exciting task.
As a result, this band of neighbourhood watch was quite inebriated early
in the night when they accosted Suraj and his team. Inebriated enough to
not be in a position to comprehend Suraj’s explanation.
Interestingly, they suggested a visit to the police station. They knew their
job, for sure. However, one of the CMIE team members suggested that the
smart-ones should instead accompany them to the residents of the empanelled
households. If the households recognised the CMIE team it would remove
doubts about their identity, the purpose of the visit and integrity of
The household they visited recognised the team members. The household
provided the necessary credence to the identity and purpose of the
team. The household spoke in favour of the team saying that these people
visit them every now and then and take information from them. The
households verified that they had been participating in the survey for
a long time and did not see any malafide intentions.
The support of the household saved the day, rather the night for Suraj
and his team.