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  • Urging an investigation agency, such as CBI: Spending Rs 1,600 crore For NRC Updating, Former coordinator Hajela leaves Assam

    Published on November 13, 2019

    By Bhupen Goswami

    Guwahati : The Supreme Court had last month ordered Hajela’s inter-cadre transfer to Madhya Pradesh for maximum period permissible. The Assam government on Tuesday appointed Hitesh Dev Sarma as his replacement. “Though Madhya Pradesh is my home state, Assam is like my own state, my karma bhumi (work place) where I have served for 23 years. I have learnt a lot here. My daughter was born here and she can speak fluent Assamese. I will certainly return after three years of deputation in Madhya Pradesh,” an emotional Hajela told the media at the LGBI Airport on today. A 1995-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Hajela had led the mammoth NRC exercise since 2013. Earlier this month, the department of personnel and training under ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, conforming to the apex court’s order, approved his inter-cadre deputation to Madhya Pradesh for a period of three years. Reacting on his work related to the NRC update in Assam, Hajela said that he was confident of the quality of work he had done over the years. “I am confident of the work which was a constitutional duty I had performed during my tenure as the state coordinator,” he said. Hajela is credited to have devised the technical concepts that guide the NRC update, where a person’s ancestry could be mapped through digital datasets which draw from decades-old documents, and the planned modus operandi for consequent rounds of physical verification.

    Over 19 lakh out of 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were excluded from the final NRC list, which was published on August 31 this year. Meanwhile ,Describing Mr Hajela’s “dramatic exit” from the state as matter of grave concern, president of the Assam Public Works (APW), Aabhijeet Sharma, said in a statement that the government should ensure that he cannot leave the country till auditing of the NRC process was completed. The government has a major responsibility to find out how a government official who has been solely responsible for spending Rs. 1,600 crore of government money can leave Assam without submitting any detailed report of expenses, Mr Sharma said. The NRC was a process on which the people of Assam had pinned their hopes but the release of the final list was “full of flaws and it has broken the hearts of many”, Mr Sharma said.

    The final NRC was released on August 31 with 19,06,657of the total 3,30,27,661 applicants excluded. “We were eagerly waiting for the views of the Supreme Court on the final NRC but were really surprised on October18, when it gave an order to transfer Mr Hajela to Madhya Pradesh and that he be released within seven days,” he said. The APW president alleged that the NRC State Coordinator had submitted some documents to the court stating that there was risk to his life. “We really don’t understand the court’s order regarding his immediate transfer. We still wonder why no order was issued for entrusting his security with any organisation or department…,” he said. The APW will submit another petition before the Supreme Court on November 17 urging investigations into the various aspects of the NRC process by investigating agencies, such as CBI and NIA, Sharma added.