Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Hours after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced several developmental projects on the occasion of Local Self Governance Day today, Opposition parties criticised the move and termed it vote bank politics of the ruling-BJD to win confidence of urban voters ahead of civic body polls in the State.

While attending a state-level function at  Lok Seva Bhavan, CM Naveen announced that all the 2,035 wards under 114 urban local bodies in the State will now have a ward office and ward officer to oversee its functioning. As per reports, with the rollout of the ward offices, people in the urban areas can now easily avail facilities and services like birth and death registration in their own localities.

Patnaik inaugurated ward offices under several ULBs including Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation through video conferencing and also rolled out provisions for fast-track building plan approval under Bhubaneswar Development Authority’s (BDA) and online marriage certification.

The CM also disbursed Rs 10,000 each to 1,369 street vendors out of 4,103 affected by cyclone Fani. Informing that his government has set goals to make all the urban local bodies waste-free towns in a year, Patnaik laid foundation stone to set up 342 micro compost units in 114 civic bodies and 40 septic treatment facilities in 26 municipalities at an investment of Rs 70 crore.

The ruling party wants to tide over the upcoming ULB polls with the help of these sops because they have no other option, said senior BJP leader Samir Mohanty.

Congress MLA Sura Routray said, “This is a plan by the State government to appoint new officers and implement newer projects and misappropriate funds just like they did in the KALIA scheme. But it seems that it will also fail like other schemes.”

On the other hand, the Centre is implementing ‘Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikash’ initiative on October 2 with an aim to enhance people’s participation in various state and centrally-sponsored schemes at the panchayat level. Under the new scheme, the State government will provide information on department-wise expenditure at the panchayat level and also give reports to the Centre.