The final NRC list was released on August 31 last year Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: After drawing a lot of flak over crucial NRC data disappearing from its site, recently appointed state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma said on Wednesday that the data is safe and would be available once again on the NRC official website over the next few days.

Speaking with EastMojo over phone, Sarma said: “The citizenship data is safe. It was not showing up on the website as the agreement with Wipro expired last year.”

He said that as soon as the matter was brought to his notice, he ordered for the agreement to be renewed with Wipro, the IT firm responsible for the maintenance of the data. “The agreement has been renewed on February 6. The data will be available on the NRC official website over the next few days,” Sarma said.

Sarma added that NRC authorities have agreed to pay Rs 3 lakh per month to Wipro for data storage on the cloud.

“The monthly amount for some reason was pending from last year and following which this happened, however we are looking into it and will be resolved soon,” Sarma assured.

The data of the final citizens’ list of Assam (the list included names of all those included and excluded), published in August last year, had gone missing from the official website, a development that pressed the panic button for thousands.

Clarifying on the issue, the Union home ministry on Wednesday said the data was not available due to “some technical issue in visibility on cloud”. The ministry said the problem is “being resolved soon”.

Amid all the brouhaha, Wipro in a statement issued just a while ago said: “In 2014, Wipro Ltd was appointed as the System Integrator for the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) project in Assam after a rigorous tender process. The project was commissioned by the Registrar General of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs, and was monitored by the Honourable Supreme Court of India. As an IT services provider, Wipro was tasked with providing the technical architecture and technology solutions for the project. These services were provided in accordance with the terms of its contract with NRC and the same was monitored by the concerned authorities. The IT Services Contract was not renewed by the authorities upon its expiry in October, 2019. However, as a gesture of goodwill, Wipro continued to pay the hosting service fee until January-end, 2020. Wipro is willing to continue providing these services if the IT services Agreement is renewed by the authorities.”

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference here, Assam Public Works working president Abhijeet Sarma — the primary petitioner in SC on NRC in Assam — on Wednesday highlighted a series of lapses in the NRC process that is estimated to have cost the exchequer over Rs 16,000 crore.

APW working president Abhijit Sarma addressing the media in Guwahati on Wednesday

Sarma accused the former NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela for the lapses in one of the country’s largest citizenship data exercise.

Speaking with EastMojo, on the recent incident of the NRC final list data missing from its official website, Sarma said, “This happened due to the negligence and corrupt attitude of former coordinator Hajela as he did not renew the agreement with IT company Wipro. The agreement expired on October 19, 2019 and Hajela fled from Assam in November 2019, so it clearly shows that Hajela intentionally did not renew the agreement on time.”

Hajela might have done this in order to hide his activities like tampering of data for correcting inclusion and exclusion of wrongly entered names in final NRC that clearly violates the SC directives, Sarma added.

“We have reports that clearly shows that NRC final list data was tampered several times by Hajela after release of final list which violates the norms provided by SC,” Sarma said.

APW has recently filed an FIR with the CID alleging that Hajela indulged in corrupt activities during the NRC updating process.

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