Assam misses Gauhati HC-set deadline for Goalpara transit camp construction


By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Assam government has missed a Gauhati High Court-set deadline to complete the construction of a standalone detention centre (now called transit camp) for the declared foreigners at Matia in the state’s Goalpara district.

The state’s Commissioner-Secretary (Home) Manivannan S said, “The construction is almost complete.”

After hearing a petition, Justice Kalyan Rai Surana of the Gauhati High Court had on August 11 directed the Secretary of Home & Political Department, Government of Assam to file the updated status report within 45 days.

“…The State envisaged that the construction of detention centre at Matia, Goalpara would be completed by September, 2021. In this regard, the learned Advocate General has submitted although he has received specific instruction from the concerned authorities of the Home Department that expeditious steps are being taken to complete the construction work…within a period of 1 (one) month…”

“…But as a matter of abundant caution, the learned Advocate General has prayed for allowing 6 (six) weeks time to the State to complete the construction…and to shift the detenues of the various detention centers to the proposed detention centre,” the court had said.

According to the Advocate General, there were about 177 detenues in the various detention centers then.

“It is also submitted that majority of those remaining detenues have not been able to provide the necessary documents, which the State is presently insisting for releasing the said detenues,” the court had said.

Being constructed at a cost of Rs 64 crore on a piece of land measuring 25 acres, the Matia detention camp will be able to house 3,000 inmates at a time.

The six existing detention centres are separate cells in the district jails of Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, Silchar and Tezpur.

In August, the state government “humanised” the detention centres for declared foreigners (illegal Bangladeshi immigrants) by renaming them as “transit camps”.

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