State govt sends proposal for 10 more detention centres; only one -- in Goalpara district -- is under construction; similar is situation with additional FTs
Guwahati: Even though the state government has sent separate proposals for setting up more detention camps and foreigner tribunals (FTs) in different parts of post-NRC Assam, selection of sites, except in Goalpara, for such camps and district-wise allotment of FTs in Assam still await Centre nod.
The state government has recently sent a proposal to the Centre for construction of 10 more detention centres in Kamrup, Barpeta, Dima Hasao, Karimganj, Lakhimpur, Nalbari, Nagaon, Sonitpur and Sivasagar districts of state, each of them with a capacity to accommodate nearly 1,000 people. The cost of construction of these new detention centres is estimated to be around Rs 1,000 crore.
Names of over 19 lakh people have been excluded from the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. Those whose names have been excluded from the final NRC, can approach the FTs to prove their Indian citizenship or the tribunal can declare them as foreigners. At present, Assam has six detention centres that operate out of make-shift facilities in local prisons at Goalpara, Dhibrugarh, Silchar, Tezpur, Jorhat and Kokrajhar. Kokrajhar is the only one where women are lodged. The detainees are lodged in the detention camps till they are deported to the country of their origin or are able to secure their release.
Sources in state home department informed that an exclusive detention centre is all set to come in lower Assam’s Goalpara district and construction in this regard is going on in full swing. This detention centre is being constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 45 crore and with a capacity to accommodate about 3,000 people.
“The state government has already identified the places for detention centres, however, it is yet to get approval from the government of India,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the state government with assistance from Central government is all set to make additional 200 Foreigner Tribunals (FTs) functional across all districts of the state.
Sources further revealed that a meeting was held recently between top officials of Assam government in presence of commissioner-and-secretary of state home and political department and additional director general of police, where in deputy commissioners of all districts were asked to submit their respective requirements for operational of the additional FTs.
Sources informed that approximately 67 of such FTs were proposed to come up in Kamrup (Metro), 39 in Nagaon, 31 in Jorhat, 21 in Tezpur, 20 in Silchar; 10 in Dhubri, seven in Kokrajhar; and five in Bongaigaon in the run up to the final NRC publication as decided by the state home and political department earlier.
However, the state government’s proposal in this regard to the Centre is yet to be officially announced by the government of India.
Meanwhile, the selection process for appointment of members of the additional FTs has already been completed.
At present, about 100 FTs are functional across the state. With the approval of the additional 200 FTs, the total number of such tribunals functional across the state will increase to 400 by the end of this year.
Earlier, Assam government, ahead of the final publication of NRC, had requested the Centre for setting up 1,000 FTs across state to handle cases of exclusions, but the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) had approved for establishing a total 400 additional FTs, of which 200 are planned to be set up in the first and the remaining in the second phase.