Tension emanating from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam is “uncalled for” Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, MP, and Organising Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League, said on Sunday. He was here to attend a conference on safety of minorities and democracy.“We think that there is considerable tension in the region over this (NRC). This is totally uncalled for and unnecessary,” Mr. Chowdhury told The Hindu on the sidelines of the conference. It was organised by the Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Centre along with civil society organisations.Peaceful South AsiaHe also said that the tension over NRC will be “harmful” to all stakeholders in the region. “If we want South Asia to remain peaceful, then all of us have to work on the issue in a dedicated manner,” said Mr. Chowdhury.The Awami League leader said no one should act in such a manner which will disrupt regional peace. “We have to be more dedicated in maintaining peace in the region,” said Mr. Chowdhury.Huge humanitarian crisisEarlier, noted rights activist Teesta Setalvad alleged that the NRC exercise in Assam was causing a “humanitarian crisis of huge dimension” as it has left out a large number of people from the draft NRC list.“Over 40 lakh people have been left out of the draft NRC list. We are also looking at a process that is politically whipping up the worst kind of sentiments for us as a society,” she said at a conference on NRC in the city.She further alleged that, “Dangerous politics is being played over the NRC. The humanitarian crisis is of such a scale that the family members of a former President have been left out of the NRC,” said Ms. Setalvad pointed out.
The Delhi Commonwealth Games Organising Committee on Tuesday claimed that it has cleared dues amounting to Rs 111.84 crore to 36 of the 45 foreign companies involved in the Games last year.The remaining nine companies have already been paid Rs 191.11 crore and a balance amount to the tune of Rs 17.80 crore has been withheld owing to non-performance of contractual obligations, the OC, which is facing allegations of widescale corruption, said in a press release.The companies which have got their dues include eight vendors to whom payments have been made between January 24 to January 31.In addition, there are 71 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) to whom a total travel grant to the tune of Rs 16.74 crore was payable. Out of these, the OC said, 64 CGAs have been paid Rs 14.95 crore, and the balance payment of Rs 1.79 crore to the seven remaining associations will be released by February 7.Quite a few companies from Australia and England threatened to sue the CWG organisers for non-payment of pending dues running into millions of dollars.Reports of a USD three million-plus class action emerged at a time when India’s foreign minister S M Krishna visited Australia and the issue figured prominently in Krishna’s talks with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd.The claims were largely linked to the opening and closing ceremonies and Australian firms said they were upset with the OC’s refusal to settle disputes.The OC countered that most payments were complete and those awaiting disposal had to do with “under performance and contractual obligations”.Newly elected sports minister Ajay Maken then directed government nominees in the OC to thoroughly verify unpaid dues and make all the legitimate payments within 10 days.advertisementThe payment disputes lingered for more than three months after the October 3 to 14 Games. Australian firms such as Howard and Sons, Norwest and a consultant for the ceremonies had claimed that doing business in India was an arbitrary and risk-laden affair.Agency reports said events organiser Ric Birch had commissioned a law firm for a multi-million dollar lawsuit that would involve four large Australian firms including his Spectak Productions and fireworks company Howard & Sons.The companies whose payments have been withheld are Swiss Timing, Infostrada Sports, K Events SRL, Mark Fisher, Great Big Event, Spectek Production, Production Resource Group, EKS Workforce and E&Y Workforce (Consortium with EKS).