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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: As a part of ensuring better public service delivery through its touted 5Ts (technology, transparency, teamwork, time and transformation) framework, Odisha government has decided to appoint ward officers in municipal corporation and municipality areas of the State.

The Urban Development Department has written to all commissioners and executive officers for appointment of ward officers in each ward in their respective civic bodies.

The ward officers will listen to the grievances of people and at the same time ensure that government services reach them at their doorsteps.

The officers will try to resolve the grievances of residents between 10 AM and 12 noon every day. As per plans, there will be special teams to address issues pertaining to drinking water, drainage, road repairs, street lighting and other essential services. There are plans to roll out the ward officer initiative from September 1.

However, many are still skeptical about people getting services at their doorsteps even though officers are appointed as the tenure of 101 municipalities out of 112 has already expired and its now nearly three years that there are no elected representatives.

This has provided an opportunity to the opposition parties to target the State government.

“Like Biju Yuva Vahini, the ruling BJD wants to appoint ward officers on government’s money for its own publicity ahead of the civic body polls in the State,” alleged BJP MLA Pradip Purohit.

“At a time when the councilors, who are the elected representatives, could not do anything in the last three years what will be the commitment of ward officers towards people?” questioned Congress leader, Panchanan Kanungo.

Rebutting the allegations of opposition members, senior BJD leader Pratap Deb claimed that ‘Opposition parties will always criticise instead of praising the government. If civic body polls are not held then it doesn’t imply that all the developmental works including sanitation measures will stop at ward level. Government is committed to provide regular services to people.”

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