NRC co-ordinator Hajela to be sent to Madhya Pradesh

Assam government on Saturday issued an order for the release of NRC co-ordinator and IAS officer Prateek Hajela for inter-cadre deputation to Madhya Pradesh, as per last month's order of the Supreme Court.

The state government also appointed Hitesh Dev Sarma, an Assam Civil Service officer as the new NRC coordinator. Sarma is now serving as secretary of urban development and finance department.

Sarma had served as the NRC co-ordinator before Hajela was posted for the same following an order of the Supreme Court.

On October 18, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, hearing the NRC matter ordered for the inter-cadre transfer of Hajela to Madhya Pradesh on deputation for the maximum period permissible under the relevant rules and regulations (three years) within seven days. The centre subsequently asked for more time to complete the formalities.

The order issued by Assam personnel department said that Hajela would be released on Monday for inter-cadre deputation.

A native of Madhya Pradesh, Hajela is a 1995-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre with B.Tech in Electronics from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. 

Hajela's job as NRC co-ordinator was initially praised by various organisations but had invited much ire soon after the release of the final list of NRC on August 31. Over 19.06 lakh persons were excluded from the final list, leaving them to move the foreigner tribunal to prove their Indian citizenship with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.

Two FIRs were also lodged against Hajela alleging his failure to provide an error-free NRC. The ruling BJP, All Assam Students' Union and Assam Public Works, the original petitioner seeking update of the NRC alleged that large number of illegal migrants managed to make it to the NRC but genuine citizens including the indigenous people were left out of the final list of NRC.

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