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July 8 hope for NRC final draft


SC to take a call on Monday

Guwahati, June 30: As the final word from the Supreme Court on extension of the June 30 deadline for publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) is awaited, sources in the office of the state Coordinator of NRC said they should be able to publish the second and final draft by July 8.
The final draft of the NRC is unlikely to be published on June 30, the deadline set by the Supreme Court, because of disruption in the process caused by floods. NRC state Coordinator Prateek Hajela had said on Thursday that they would inform the apex Court about their difficulties on July 2, the next date of hearing of a case related to update of the National Register of Citizens.
Hajela is likely to seek an extension, based on the apex Court’s May 8 order that a “limited” extension may be possible. The Court had said, “We take note of the fact that the learned state coordinator is optimistic of completion of the entire process of final publication of the NRC within the stipulated time, subject to limited change of timeline, if required.”
An official source said on Friday that work was being undertaken on a war footing to publish the draft as early as possible and they were confident that it would be ready for publication by July 8. He said they are likely to seek an extension of 8 days during the Supreme Court hearing on July 2.
“NRC-related work was hampered for 8 days due to floods and this is the rationale to be cited while seeking an extension of 8 days,” he said.
Fifty per cent NRC seva kendras in the 3 Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi and a large number in Hojai and West Karbi Anglong districts in the Brahmaputra Valley had been affected by the first wave of floods that hit the state this month.
The source said mostly computerised data entry work remains to be completed and the NRC staff is racing against time to finish the job at the earliest. “At present, our staff are working in 2 shifts and data entry is being done till as late as 10 p.m.,” he added.
“We have no idea what new deadline the Supreme Court will set so we are trying to finish the work even before July 8,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia on Friday sought an inquiry into reports of documents, submitted by applicants in support of inclusion of their names in the updated NRC, being used to pack sweets in a shop at Mangaldoi in Darrang district. He said if true, this is a serious matter and NRC authorities should take stern action against officials responsible for it.
Saikia has also written to the member secretary of National Legal Services Authority, Alok Agarwal, requesting him to ensure free legal aid to those whose names will not be included in the NRC and “doubtful” voters in detention camps.