Jodhpur: People living in the colonies for Hindu migrants here have welcomed the Centre's decision to set up a task force to monitor and expedite the processing of citizenship and Long Term Visa (LTV) applications.
"The decision would benefit about 20,000 Hindu migrants, eligible for citizenship of India, who have been settled here...," said Hindu Singh Sodha, president Seemant Lok Sangthan (SLS), a grassroot organisation fighting for the welfare and citizenship related issues of the migrants.
Before this, the state government had held a special camp in 2005 to grant citizenship to 13,000 eligible migrants then.
In the absence of any proper mechanism and legal framework, these people are in quandary and ensnared into an agonising state of identity crisis, Sodha said.
"Now, with the central government having taken a firm step, we look forward to end of the dark and bleak future here, said Chetan Ram, who had led a group of 171 migrants to land in Jodhpur in 2012, adding that their voice should also be heard.
"We had been struggling hard since long?but for the first time any decisive step on the issue has been taken," Sodha said, "we expect not only?the simplification of the citizenship rules like delegation of the powers back to the district magistrates, reduction in the application fee and relaxation in minimum stay condition but also an effective receiving mechanism for these migrants."
He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and state committees should also be incorporated in this task force.
Chohtan MLA Tarun Rai Kaga, who himself had migrated in 1971 from Pakistan, said that this would help especially those poor and illiterate migrants, basically farm labourers and daily wagers, who form the large chunk and could not afford the heavy fees and cope with the taxing and complex procedural formalities.