GUWAHATI, July 29 � The Central Government is �very much concerned� over the slow progress of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951 and it may put pressure on the Assam Government soon to expedite the process.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the Centre has already played its part to clear the decks for updating the NRC for the benefit of the indigenous people of Assam. But unfortunately, the Assam Government has not been able to expedite the process of updating the NRC.
Sources revealed that the Centre has cleared the modalities for updating the citizenship document, while the notification in this regard has also been issued. The Centre also provided Rs 140 crore to the Assam Government and there should not be any reason for the State Government to delay the process, sources added. The money was released in two instalments � the first instalment was released in December last year and the second in March this year.
MHA sources said that the Centre would soon take up the matter with the Assam Government and put pressure on it to expedite the process. The process of updating the NRC was to be completed in three years and the slow progress of the work may delay it.
�We do not understand why the Assam Government is sitting on the fund released for the purpose,� MHA sources admitted.
Sources pointed out that the situation in parts of the State may deteriorate with the elections to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) due in April next year and in such circumstances, the process of updating the NRC may be delayed again. There is every possibility that some persons, who do not want updating of the NRC may try to create disturbance to disturb the process, particularly during the BTC elections and the slow progress of the work may lead to complications, sources warned.
Sources further pointed out that the State Government suspended the process way back in 2010 following a violent movement by an organization in Barpeta and though a probe was ordered into the incident, no one was punished. There is every possibility that such disturbance may affect the process yet again and in such a scenario, the people of Assam would be the worst sufferer, sources added.
When asked whether the Centre would give a deadline to the State Government for completion of the job, sources said that no such decision has yet been taken. But such a possibility cannot be ruled out if the State Government does not expedite the process, sources said.