GUWAHATI, June 18 - The publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) may be delayed by a few days because of the devastating floods in a few districts, while, the Central Government has also agreed to send additional forces to ensure that no untoward incident takes place in any part of the State following the publication of the citizenship document.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the process of verification of documents submitted by the applicants was almost complete and the data entry process is going on in full swing. But the only problem was the floods, which affected several districts of the State and in several places, particularly in the Barak valley, the NRC Seva Kendras (NSK) were directly affected by floods, which delayed the process of updating the NRC.
As per the schedule, the process of verification was to be completed by the end of May and the State NRC Coordinator had sought one month time for mopping up operation including data entry so that the final draft can be published on June 30. The verification process was almost completed by the end of May barring a few cases where some persons had to be given extra time to appear before the verifying officers because of �valid reasons�. �The process was going on in full swing and the NRC Coordinator�s Office was confident of completing the job by the scheduled time. But the devastating floods affected the process and now it may be delayed by a few days,� sources added.
However, at the same time, sources said that the delay should not be of more than a week of 10 days and no one should be apprehensive about the possibility of a long delay. �No one can stop publication of the draft NRC now. Only a few days delay, that too because of a natural calamity, should not be a matter of concern for anyone,� sources pointed out. The State NRC Coordinator is likely to report the reasons for the possible delay before the Supreme Court in the next hearing scheduled for July 2.
It may be mentioned here that in the last hearing on May 8, the Supreme Court had also accepted the possibility of limited change of time line if required for the publication of the final draft of the NRC. The Court order 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 time-lines, if required. We do not wish to record anything further except to direct the learned State Coordinator to proceed with the work entrusted to him by the several orders of this Court and cause publication of the final NRC on schedule.�
Meanwhile, commenting on the recent visit of the Registrar General of India and the Joint Secretary (NE) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), sources said that it was a pre-scheduled visit to review the progress of updating the NRC and the overall law and order situation. The Central Government officials carried out a thorough review of the progress and the situation in series of meetings with the State NRC Coordinator and senior civil and police officials and stressed on the need for educating the people about the process. The NRC Coordinator�s Office and the Government officials have started an awareness drive to educate the people that even if the names of some Indian citizens do not appear in the final draft of the NRC, it is not the end of the road for them as ample opportunities would be given to file claims and objections. The Centre has already deployed 85 companies of additional forces and more forces are likely to be sent at the time of publication of the final draft.