Illegal Bangladeshi Migrants: Odisha To Move Centre For NRC In Kendrapara

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government will move the Centre for preparing a National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Kendrapara district to identify and deport illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who allegedly carry out illegal activities in the wetland of Bhitarkanika.

Officials said the decision was taken in the fourth meeting of a high-level committee formed under the supervision of the Orissa High Court for taking measures to conserve the ecology of the two major wetlands — Bhitarkanika National Park and Chilika — in the state.

The Director Environment-cum-Special Secretary F&E Department on Saturday wrote to the Home department to seek permission from the Centre for conducting the NRC exercise in Kendrapara, the officials said.

In his report, the HC-appointed Amicus Curiae Mohit Agarwal submitted that the illegal immigrants had intruded into Bhitarkanika through the sea route and permanently settled there. They were carrying on prawn culture illegally and destroying the mangrove forest cover of the park.

Agarwal, along with the Additional Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment department, heads the committee.

In 2004, the then Union Home Minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal, had told the Rajya Sabha about the presence of 30,850 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Odisha. The number is said to have increased to over seven lakh, mostly concentrated in Kendrapara, Agarwal said in his representation.

He has highlighted illegal prawn gheris, pollution, unregulated boat operations and oil spills, depletion of mangrove cover inside Bhitarkanika and poaching activities by the Bangladeshi immigrants in his report.

The issue concerned national security too, he added.

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