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SC order a 'relief' for NRC workers

Guwahati, July 22: The Supreme Court's twin orders yesterday allowing more time for submission of applications for enlisting in the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being updated, and inclusion of "original inhabitants of Assam" on the basis of any acceptable document or as suggested by the Registrar-General of India (RGI), have come as a "huge relief" for authorities engaged in preparation of the document.

Sources at the office of the State Coordinator of National Registration, Assam, today admitted that they were running late but would now be able to catch up.

"Honestly, we had not expected the application form submission to be completed by July 31 (deadline set by the Supreme Court earlier), but now we have some breathing space," a source said.

The delay had set in after distribution of forms started much later than it was scheduled. The source said the RGI will now finalise the revised dates for the submission of forms. "We had proposed an extension by a month or two but the registrar-general will now take the final call," he said. He said physical verification of applications, which was to follow as a separate exercise after submission of forms, would now have to be carried out simultaneously to make up the lost time.

"We can't afford to wait for all to submit their applications," he said while pointing out that the apex court had not extended the deadline to complete the entire process, which is January 31, 2016. "There may be some overlap of the remaining phases of the exercise to be able to meet the deadline for publication of the final NRC," he said.

The source said the apex court's allowance for original inhabitants of Assam, including tea tribes, regarding documents to be submitted would also help speed up the process.

The tea tribes, in particular, had complained about non-availability of legacy data (comprising the NRC 1951 and electoral rolls up to midnight of March 24, 1971) and other stipulated admissible documents for which they apprehended they might be left out of the NRC.

"They now don't need to submit the legacy data or the linkage (with parents) papers and instead can furnish any document that satisfies the authorities, which will make it easier for their enlistment," the source said.

"Importantly, physical verification of their applications may also become quicker as there would be fewer documents to go through and linkage with parents not difficult to establish; the surnames alone should suffice. We may have to just verify their places of stay, etc. and not so much the nationality question. Given that we are talking here of 30-40 per cent of the population of the state, a lot of time will thus be saved," he said.

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