GUWAHATI, April 7 - Ensuing Lok Sabha polls are unlikely to affect the schedule of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as it was prepared keeping the elections in mind and the progress so far has been satisfactory and the officials engaged in the job of conducting the hearings on claims and objections have been able to complete more than 40 per cent of the hearings.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that though the process of hearings of claims and objections on the draft of the NRC would remain suspended from April 10 to 24 because of the Lok Sabha polls, it would not upset the final schedule of preparation of the NRC. �It was decided way back in February that the hearings would have to be suspended for a few days because of the elections and Bohag Bihu celebrations and the schedule was prepared keeping that in mind. The Supreme Court was also informed about the suspension of the hearings for a few days,� sources added.
Giving details of the process of hearings on claims and objections, sources revealed that names of more than 40 lakh applicants were not included in the draft of the NRC and those people were given an opportunity to file claims and as per the procedure, anyone could file objections on the draft. Accordingly, 36.2 lakh claims were filed while, around two lakh objections were also filed in different parts of the State and the NRC State Coordinator�s Office prepared a detailed schedule for hearings on claims and objections. Notices were sent to the concerned persons to appear for the claims and objections and around 10,000 personnel including around 3,400 officials have been engaged in the job. So far, more than 40 per cent of the hearings have been completed and as per the schedule, the process is to be completed by the middle of June.
After the completion of the process, data entry, quality checks by senior officials, etc., will take some time and the officials engaged in the process are confident of publishing the final NRC by July 31, which was the deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the process.
Meanwhile, sources said that though the Centre has sent additional forces to the State for the elections, if required, the central forces deployed for ensuring that the NRC updating process goes on smoothly, can also be utilized for maintaining law and order during the polls as the process would remain suspended during the period. �The forces deployed for NRC updating work are basically posted for maintaining law and order in the areas considered vulnerable and those forces will also be useful during the elections to maintain peace. Moreover, till date, there has been no law and order problem during the NRC updating process as apprehended before,� sources added.