New Delhi: Amid controversy over the disappearance of the Assam NRC data from the official website, the new state NRC coordinator, Hitesh Dev Sarma has accused his predecessor Prateek Hajela over non-renewal of cloud services contract with Wipro.
“Former NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela who was in service at that time didn’t renew the Wipro contract which had expired in October 2019. Due to the non-renewal, the cloud services were suspended, hence the NRC data hasn’t been available on the website since 15 December. I took charge as the new NRC coordinator only on 24 December,” Sarma told ThePrint.
ThePrint made multiple attempts to get in touch with the former NRC coordinator, however Hajela didn’t respond to any queries. He was released from his NRC charge on November 11.
The new state NRC coordinator said that the state NRC coordination committee meeting for a formal order to renew the contract with the IT firm, Wipro was only held on 30 January this year.
“After discussions in the meeting, we have sent a formal order to Wipro for the data cloud services on 6 February,” said Hitesh Dev Sarma. He added that the NRC data is safe with all major details, even if the cloud services are suspended.
“We are constantly in touch with the IT firm for renewing the services. However, we can’t provide an estimated date when the data will be back online,” Sarma told ThePrint.
Disappearance due to “some technical issue”
In a statement issued to PTI, the Home Ministry has stated that the disappearance is related to “some technical issue in visibility on Cloud” and that it will be resolved soon. However, according to a report, the tech giant Wipro has issued a statement that the disappearance of the database is due to unpaid dues.
As of now, when the space of the NRC website stating ‘Result for all NRC applicants as per Draft NRC & Supplementary list of Inclusion and Exclusion (Final NRC)’ Link 1 & Link is clicked, nothing except a message ‘this page can’t be reached’ pops up.
This missing data row comes at a time when the rejection slips of the people who were excluded in the Assam NRC final list, are yet to be issued.
The final NRC list which was published in August 2019, had identified 19,06,657 persons as ‘foreigners’. Assam BJP’s led government had rejected the NRC list, welcoming the announcement of Home minister Amit Shah of a pan-India NRC procedure.
State Finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the published NRC was “not acceptable” and that Assam should be a part of the pan-India NRC process. Student body, The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) which had pushed for the NRC exercise in Assam, had also raised objections over the accuracy of the NRC list.
The final list is also yet to be officially notified by the Registrar General of India.
“Mala fide act” alleges Congress
On Tuesday Assam Assembly and Congress leader Debabrata Saikia wrote to the Registrar General of India (RGI) and Census Commissioner informing him of the “mystery” of the “online data vanishing all of a sudden.” The Congress leader further alleges that the disappearance is a “mala fide act” and has also requested the RGI to look into the matter urgently.
“The data have vanished, especially when the appeals process has not even started due to the go-slow attitude adopted by the NRC Authority,” Saikia wrote in his letter.