SHILLONG, March 12: The state government today said that if Meghalaya is to further delay the NPR Biometric Enrolment, the state would be moving backwards instead of progressing forward.
Replying to a resolution brought by UDP legislator from West Shillong, Paul Lyngdoh, General Administration Department (GAD) Minister, HDR Lyngdoh said that the NPR Biometric Enrolment is a better system of identification and also security which can effectively prevent illegal immigration.
Lyngdoh also sought to allay the fear of pressure groups that illegal immigrant would be enrolled and become eligible for various benefits and schemes of Government and also become citizens by default.
The GAD Minister said that this fact is addressed by involving the local traditiol authorities such as headmen, Nokmas, secretaries of village dorbars/village councils in the process of Biometric Enrolment along with the officials of the district administration and once again in the procedure of claims and objections.
“A notification to this effect has been issued by the GAD,” Lyngdoh said.
Lyngdoh informed the House that in Meghalaya the NPR Biometric Enrollment was launched on June 20 2013 in Shillong Municipal Board area and in the first round of Biometric Enrolment in Ward Nos. 0001, 0002 and 0003, the biometrics of 9114 persons were captured.
The GAD Minister, however said that the Biometric Enrolment process was put on hold on July 25, 2013 due to opposition of some NGOs. The issue raised by the NGOs at that point of time was that there was not much clarity about NPR. The government decided to carry out awareness drive involving the NGOs and local headmen before implementing NPR Biometric Enrolment.
In view of the issue raised by the NGOs, the NPR Biometric Enrolment was temporarily put on hold and the East Khasi Hills district administration was advised to carry out awareness drive in Shillong initially followed by the rural areas of the district.
In order to give more clarity about the NPR, Lyngdoh informed that the state government organized a state level awareness workshop where several NGOs, headmen, prominent citizens of Shillong and others were invited.
Following this, awareness workshop was held on September 29 and 3o, 2014 with all local authorities of Shillong Municipal Board, representatives of Shillong Municipal Board, Directorate of Information and Public Relations, Officers of the Directorate of Census Operations.
Problems and issues related to NPR Biometric Enrolment were discussed as well as chalking out of a plan for conducting awareness campaign to sensitize people about NPR and its importance.
Lyngdoh also told the House that a number of meetings were also held at state level, district level and local level.