Construction is on in full swing in Goalpara district to build India’s largest detention centre for those declared foreigners after the publication of the controversial Assam National Register of Citizens or NRC last month.
The mass detention centre in Goalpara district’s Matia will be able to house 3,000 people and is being built over an area of 2.5 hectares, about the size of seven soccer fields. It will have 15 four-storey buildings. The government expects the massive complex to be ready by December, this year, though rain had delayed the construction.
It will have a hospital, an auditorium, a common kitchen and 180 toilets and washrooms. There will also be a primary school just outside the detention centre. A red-painted boundary wall encircles the upcoming camp, with the outer wall at 20 feet and the inner wall at six feet. The detention centre will also have watchtowers.
A senior police officer in Assam shared that there will be hostel-type rooms, each of which can accommodate four to five detainees. The rooms, the officer revealed, will have regular doors, proper lighting and ventilation.
The centre has stated that people whose names don’t appear in the NRC cannot be declared foreigners till all legal options are exhausted. Every person left out of the NRC can appeal to the Foreigners Tribuna and subsequently approach the courts. The time limit to file the appeal has been extended from 60 to 120 days.
If those who have been left out of the crucial list are not able to prove their citizenship before the deadline ends, they will be taken to the detention centre, which is India’s first fully-fledged detention centre. Ten such centers have been proposed in Assam.