THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unfounded rumours on the census exercise, slated to commence in April, are being spread by some quarters to make the people panic, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Answering questions in the assembly on Tuesday, the chief minister said that it is nothing but a canard that the census and National Population Register (NPR) will be carried out simultaneously in the state. Reiterating his stance that the state will never become part of the NPR, Pinarayi said the same has been intimated to the Centre.
“It is a baseless fear that NPR will be carried out along with the census. Both are different. The state will not become part of the NPR, but will cooperate with the census. There is no harm in sharing details as part of the census as it will provide information on size, distribution, socioeconomic and other characteristics of a place,” he said.
According to him, the census exercise will be carried out in two phases — documentation of house listing operations in the first phase and population enumeration including details of sex, educational qualification, religion and others in the second phase. To allay the doubts and concerns of the people relating to the census and NPR, the state government will soon launch an awareness programme, he added.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala came out with a demand that as doubts persist over the collection of data, the state government should initiate necessary actions to put on hold the census exercise.
Earlier, the chief minister informed the assembly that detention centres as suggested by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will not be constructed in the state. Countering the questions of the Opposition based on an RTI reply which stated that construction of such a facility could be handed over to the Social Justice Department (SJD), Pinarayi said a decision to this effect was taken during the previous UDF government’s tenure.
“In August 2012, the state received a letter from MHA to set up detention centres like some in the other states. The then government based on the same come out with an order stating that it could be considered by the SJD. Of the many officers who signed on the said document, there was also then home minister Ramesh Chennithala,” said Pinarayi.
However, Chennithala said the detention centres mentioned in the letter are for the confinement of foreign nationals if they violate visa rules or do not possess adequate travel documents. Such a centre was proposed under the Foreigners Act, 1946.