Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday sought postponement of the Census exercise and related activities scheduled to begin on April 1 in view of the novel coronavirus pandemic, saying the central government should take an appropriate decision "in the interest of people".
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said mobilisation of field functionaries for Census 2021 and update of the National Population Register across the country will pose a great health risk.
"As mobilisation for Census and other concerned activities shall pose a great risk for field functionaries and people as well, I would rather suggest to postpone the scheduled Census and related activities in the country," he said in the letter a copy of which was released to the media.
"I would request that the central government may review the proposed Census and take appropriate decision in the interest of people," he said.
The Odisha chief minister said the Union Home Ministry issued a notification for conducting the Census and updating the NPR throughout the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020.
Stating that about 30 lakh enumerators and supervisors in the country will be involved to collect data by visiting each household during first phase, Patnaik said this has to be preceded by elaborate training, awareness campaign and related activities.
"We are all at present fighting against novel coronavirus pandemic. All efforts of state machinery are directed towards containment of COVID-19," he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has been spreading rapidly worldwide , including in India, where the number of confirmed cases reached 195 on Friday.
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