Assam detention camp to lodge 3,000 foreigners by March

Last Updated 23 December 2019, 14:05 IST

Assam government has revised the deadline by another three months for completion of "the US like" detention camp, being constructed in Goalpara district with facilities to lodge 3,000 foreigners.

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that there was no detention camp in the country, officials of Assam Police Housing Corporation, who are actively associated with the construction told DH that 70% work of the camp was over and is likely to be ready by March 31.

"We wanted to complete it by December 31. But the target had to be revised as we require some more time for laying the foundation of the detention buildings due to delay in supply of some steel structures, which we are bringing from Vishakhapatnam. Already, the superintendent room, security barrack, water supply system, dining and kitchen room, schools for the children of the detainee, the recreational room and the quarters of the grade IV employees have been completed. We hope to finish rest of the work by March 31," he said.

The camp being constructed at Matia, 130-km west of Guwahati in 2.5 hectares of land is surrounded by a 20-feet high enclosure. Another 10-feet high enclosure separates the detention buildings for 400 women. Fifteen multi-storied buildings for the detainees and a hospital is also being constructed in its campus.

Sources said nearly 1,100 "declared foreigners" already lodged in six detention centres inside jails across Assam would be shifted to the Matia detention camp. "This is the biggest detention camp in India and is like those in the US," he said.

When asked about Prime Minister Modi's claim that there was no detention camp for foreigners, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters that it was being constructed as per an order of Gauhati high court. Interestingly, it is being funded by the union ministry of home affairs. "When the high court orders us to construct the camp, somebody has to fund it," Sarma clarified.

When asked by a reporter that Kiren Rijiju, during his tenure as union home minister had informed the Parliament that the Centre had asked all states to construct such detention camps, Sarma said," I am not competent enough to reply to this question. I am just a finance minister in a state (Assam) and can't comment on what the union minister said in the Parliament."

(Published 23 December 2019, 14:05 IST)

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