For illegal immigrants: Plot in Nerul identified for detention centre
The state government has identified land in Navi Mumbai to build a detention centre to house illegal immigrants till they are deported. The state home department has written a letter to City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), the planning agency in Navi Mumbai, seeking a 450-square metre plot in Nerul, which currently houses a shelter for women in distress.
“We have identified a plot, but I will not be able to divulge any further details,” said Sanjay Kumar, additional chief secretary (home).
A Cidco official, involved in the process, said that the government is seeking a plot close to the SBI colony in Nerul. “The home department has asked Cidco for plot No 14, in Sector 5 of Nerul, admeasuring 450 square metres. The plot had been given to the NGO Savli Sanstha in July 2001 by Cidco. The building constructed on it is a home for women in distress,” he said.
While there were claims that the proposal for the detention centre was linked to the national register of citizens (NRC), Brijesh Singh, senior IPS officer and state government’s spokesperson, refuted the same. “Seeking land for the detention centre has no link with NRC. It is an old proposal moved by the Mumbai Police as they want it for the illegal passport cases under which the offender has to be detained until the individual’s status is determined. The Passport Act, 1967, has such a provision. In the absence of a detention centre, it becomes a practical difficulty for the police as they cannot keep such a person under police custody,” Singh said.
The process to identify a plot for the centre began after the Centre sent instructions to all states and union territories to set up at least one detention centre each, with modern amenities, to house illegal migrants and foreigners so that they may be traced easily when deportation is ordered. Under the Foreign Act, 1946, the powers of the Centre to detect, detain, and deport illegal migrants have been entrusted to state governments under Article 258 (1) of the Constitution.
States can, therefore, keep illegal migrants in detention centres pending their nationality verification and deportation.
According to a reply given by Nityanand Rai, minister of state for home affairs, in the Rajya Sabha in July, the proposed detention centre would have facilities to “maintain the standard of living in consonance with basic human needs”.