The Gauhati Supreme Court has given the government of Assam 45 days to complete construction of a facility to house “illegal foreigners” in Goalpara district.
The center at Matia in Goalpara, about 150 km from Guwahati, is being built to house only people who have been declared and convicted as foreigners by the aliens tribunals.
It is being built at a cost of Rs 46 crore and will have the capacity to house around 3,500 people.
Judge Kalyan Rai Surana ordered the Ministry of Interior and Politics of the Government of Assam to submit a status report on the construction of the center after 45 days and placed the case in court on September 30.
The government has informed the court that steps are being taken to complete construction. State government counsel asked for six weeks to complete construction and move the detenues to the new facility.
Currently, all centers for the detention of “illegal foreigners” in Assam are located in prisons. These are located in Tezpur, Silchar, Jorhat, Kokrajhar and Goalpara districts.
The court had previously ordered the state government to take steps to move those people to facilities outside the prisons.
The case concerns petitions by Santhanu Borthakur, Abantee Dutta and Dipika Sarkar regarding the operation of detention centers for the reception of foreigners/illegal migrants and others awaiting deportation or repatriation to their countries of origin or ruling on them.
According to the Assam government, 2,98,471 cases have been settled by the Foreigners Tribunals to date and 1,36,173 cases are pending.
Meanwhile, the government of Assam has rebranded the detention centers for foreigners as the more humane expression, transit camps. A 12-year notification has been adapted for this.