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Northeast census operations going on smoothly
Published on 26 Jun. 2010 12:44 AM IST
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Census operations are going on in northeastern India, but unlike earlier times when officials were unable to visit the interior areas for “fear of militants”, separatist outfits have not created any problems this time round, say officials.
According to senior census operation officials, the first phase of the census, which includes house listing and door-to-door headcount for the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), the process has been completed in four states - Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.
The 45-day operation is under way in Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur and this would be completed by July 15. “There is no report of any trouble in the first phase of census work from any of the northeastern states, particularly where terrorists are active,” senior census operation official Dilip Acherjee told IANS. In the previous census operations, especially in 2001, terrorists created a lot of problems for enumerators in the interior, hilly and extremist-dominated areas of the northeast.
“Census officials in the previous census could not visit most parts of interior areas due to fear of militancy,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
Acherjee said: “Union Home Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai held a review meeting in New Delhi earlier this month with the directors of census operation (DCO) of all states. No DCOs of the seven northeastern states pointed out any militancy related problems in the meeting.”
Registrar General and Census Commissioner C. Chandramouli and senior home ministry and census officials were present in the day-long meeting held June 10-11.
Acherjee, director of census operations in Tripura, said after the first phase of census work, the population data of the seven northeastern states would be scanned in the directorate of Assam census in Guwahati.
“During the 45 days of the first phase of work and door-to-door visit, the census officials have been collecting personal information on every individual in each family. This would be incorporated in the proposed unique identification card (UID) project,” the official said.
However, census operations have met with a bizarre obstruction in Mizoram. A section of the Christian community believes that the head count, and the allocation of a UID number, would mean being “identified by the beast”.
The Mizoram census officials said: “Some cults and sects of Christians believe the head count exercise, especially the introduction of UID numbers, would be ominous. Getting identified with UID numbers would mean getting identified by the beast (the devil).”
“There are 1,355 families across the mountainous state who have refused to enrol their names for the NRIC,” the officials added.
NPN adds:
Nagaland Census Director, Hekali Zhimomi said the census operation in the state was so far satisfactory and expressed confidence of completing the census operation on time. Speaking to Nagaland Post, Hekali said no major hiccup up has been reported as of now while conducting the census operation by the supervisors and enumerators.
She said any ratification needed in connection with census operation was addressed to by the nodal officers and district administrative heads on time when detected.
Hekali said the supervisors and enumerators were well trained to tackle such problems while conducting the census operation in the state. She said each enumerator was entrusted to take care of about 120 to 150 houses.
The census director said Nagaland was one of the last states to complete even the first phase of the census operation, though many states have already completed the first phase of the census operation.

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