Pune district collectorate will soon issue Indian citizenship to refugees living there under the powers granted to it by the Union Home Ministry in December last year, according to a report in The Indian Express. The staff will be provided formal training for the procedure between March 20 and 25. Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and other parts of the district have over 500 Pakistani refugees.

The process got delyed because of civic body elections. “It [the training for the staff] was not possible to organise earlier because the election code of conduct was in force for the civic polls,” he said. The district collectorate will organise a camp in April so that the refugees can apply for citizenship, District Collector Saurabh Rao told The Indian Express.

According to the notification issued by the Union Home Ministry, the minority communities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangaldesh, living in India on a long term visa can apply for Indian citizenship. The registration fees was also brought down to Rs 100 from Rs 15,000 for the minorities.

The power was granted to district collectors in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, South and West Delhi, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.