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Dispur to set up statewide NRC cells

- 3-year timeframe for govt to update register

Guwahati, Dec. 17: The Assam government will set up National Register of Citizens (NRC) cells in all district headquarters in the state to update the register.

It was announced by Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the state Assembly today.

Sarma said the Registrar-General of India (RGI) had given the state government a timeframe of three years to update the NRC.

“Since the RGI had issued the notification for the NRC update on December 6, 2013, it means that the work will have to be completed by December 5, 2016,” the minister said.

The notification was issued after the Supreme Court earlier pulled up the Centre for its lethargic approach in starting work with the Assam government on the NRC upgrade.

Sarma today said since all hurdles in the NRC update have been removed, preliminary work would start soon.

He said the state government has appointed a full-fledged commissioner for the exercise. Sarma said the Centre has released an amount of Rs 24 crore to update the register.

The amount will be utilised to set up a project management unit and carry out the remaining work of NRC digitisation and other preliminary work.

The minister said to update the NRC, minimum consensus is needed, for which the government had to hold discussions with various political as well as non-political organisations, causing some delay. “Now, since we have the funds, the guidelines and the timeframe, the work could be done expeditiously,” he said.

He sought co-operation from all quarters, including the MLAs, political parties and individuals, to complete the work in time.

The Assam government had started a pilot project to start update of the NRC in Chaygaon in Kamrup district and Barpeta district in 2010.

But the government had to halt the project after an anti-NRC rally by the All Assam Minorities Students’ Union turned violent at Barpeta Road the same year.

Four youths died in police firing.

After the violence, the state government constituted a group of ministers to chalk out modalities to simplify the NRC update process.

For inclusion of names in the updated NRC, the state government, going by the Centre’s advice, has taken steps for digitisation of the NRC of 1951 and electoral rolls available till the midnight of March 24, 1971, for making them available to the citizens.