The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to release funds for fencing India-Bangladesh border to check cross-border influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into Assam, saying the task has to be completed soon.
A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman perused the Centre’s status report on the progress made in the works relating to securing and fencing the international border and said the Madhukar Gupta committee would “oversee and supervise” it.
“Without going into the merits of the submissions, we are of the view that the task of border fencing and physical manning of the border (where fencing could not be done) has to undertaken and concluded,” the bench said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Patwalia, appearing for the Centre, said some tenders have been finalised and work orders issued to successful bidders to undertake the exercise of border fencing.
He also apprised the court that in some cases, the process of re-tendering have been initiated and effort was on to acquire land.
Assam government has sought Rs 2.96 crore for acquiring land to be used for creating infrastructure to secure the border, Patwalia said.
On the issue of releasing funds, the ASG said the Expenditure and Finance Committee would meet on March 10 to decide the issue, which would be attended by the Home Secretary also.
The apex court also made clear that the update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify original residents of Assam would continue under state coordinator Prateek Hajela, who said the task was tedious and taking time.
“We are making it very, very clear (to the state) that whatever manpower they (Hajela committee) want, has to be given. We want this work to be done quickly,” the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on April 19.
It was hearing the pleas of Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, Assam Public Works and All Assam Ahom Association filed in the aftermath of large-scale riots in 2012 and 2014 resulting in the death of a large number of persons.
It was alleged that sovereignty and integrity of India was at stake as a massive influx of illegal migrants from the neighbouring country has affected the “core constitutional values”.