NEW DELHI, July 8 - Stating that funds earmarked for update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been exhausted, the Assam Government today sought early release of the revised amount of Rs 793.89 crore. The Sonowal Government has meanwhile called for restoration of 75 companies of Central paramilitary forces citing threats posed by the Islamic jihadis.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at his official residence and presented a memorandum containing a slew of issues.
The issues that were flagged included expeditious completion of the border fencing work along the Indo-Bangla border in Assam sector, immediate release of funds for NRC update work and disturbing report of rise in jihadi activities in neighbouring Bangladesh and its likely impact on Assam.
The BJP-ruled State Government has also sought clarification from the Centre regarding its move to grant citizenship to the Hindu Bengalis. �Clarity is required with regard to the issue of minorities facing religious persecution in Bangladesh and Pakistan � the procedure to be followed and the issue of citizenship. There is considerable resistance to this development in Assam,� Sonowal conveyed to Singh.
The move is interesting given the backdrop of the promises made to the Hindu Bengalis by the BJP�s central leadership during the Assembly elections. A notification exempting the Hindu Bengalis from producing citizenship papers was also issued last September.
The NRC update work is in a crucial stage and all funds released by the Government of India have been completely exhausted three months back itself and there is no funds
available to clear the huge dues. The original amount of Rs 288.18 crore sanctioned by the Registrar General of India in May 2014 turned out to be grossly inadequate to meet the requirement of the huge exercise and the revised requirement of Rs 793.89 crore sent by the State Government has still not been approved.
�The Home Ministry needs to consider release of a temporary advance of Rs 150 crore to meet the immediate requirements to ensure that the project doesn�t come to a standstill,� Sonowal conveyed to Union Home Minister.
The Assam Government has further brought it to the notice of the Centre that the current deportation system is not only time-consuming but also not effective. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs should revisit this matter with the Government of Bangladesh.
About steps being taken to counter activities of the ISIS-like groups, Sonowal called for help of the Intelligence Bureau and National Technical Research Organisation for enhancing coverage on social media where ISIS is trying to make new recruits. He said that the State Government is in constant touch with the IB, Unified Command Structure and Central intelligence-gathering agencies through the Subsidiary Multi Agency Centre Platform, on this issue.
About the need for Central forces, the Home Minister was informed that additional forces were provided to Assam after the last ethnic carnage and a large number of fixed pickets and camps of security forces were set up in the vulnerable areas. These were continuing till the recent elections, but after the polls, 75 companies of Central forces were withdrawn from Assam, which may have an adverse impact on the law-and-order situation. These 75 companies need to be restored to Assam, Sonowal demanded.
Calling for expediting the talks with the underground groups, Sonowal called for enhancing the stipend amount to the cadres from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 urgently.
About Dima Hasao and Barak Valley districts, Sonowal mentioned that Assam Rifles, which was deployed for counter-insurgency operations, were likely to be moved out without any replacement. Their presence is necessary in the face of the emerging threats from neighbouring countries and thwart the activities of the NSCN from across the Assam-Nagaland border in the hill district.
Sonowal, during his three-day tour, met Union Minister of State for Information and Communication Harsh Vardhan Rathore, Urban Development Minister M Venkhaiah Naidu, who recently joined as Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, besides Rajnath Singh and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
He also had political meetings with BJP national president Amit Shah and general secretary in-charge for Assam Ram Madhav.