BPL survey discontinued for panchayat polls

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has discontinued the Socio-Economic & Caste Census (SECC)-2011 survey for preparation of the BPL (Below Poverty Line) list in view of the ensuing panchayat polls in February, official sources said. An official communication in this regard was sent to the collectors of seven districts comprising Bolangir, Gajapati, Klahandi, Kandhamal, Korapout, Malkangiri and Rayagada where the process was under way.

“During the period of imposition of Model Code of Conduct for conduct of election to Pancahati Raj Institutions 2012, the field survey of SECC-2011 will not continue,” A K Padhee, director of special projects in Panchayati Raj department told the district collectors in a letter. The department had sought permission from the State Election Commission on whether to continue SECC-2011 survey after some district collectors wanted clarification on the subject.

“Continuation of the SECC amounts to selection of beneficiaries for future programmes and that is why it attracts restriction imposed by the Model Code of Conduct,” the Election Commission had informed the state government. As the SECC-2011 was launched in seven districts in November, the district authorities were not certain whether the survey work would attract restriction due to the Model Code of Conduct which came into force from December 24.

The SEC had issued notification for the ensuing panchayat polls on December 24. The Model Code of Conduct would remain in force till February 19, sources said. Earlier, the state government had to suspend the SECC -2011 survey in Nawarangpur district due to the model code of conduct for the by-election at Umarkote assembly segment.

Preparation of the BPL list in Odisha was controversial since a long time as a result of which the state government had been using the list prepared in 1997, they said adding that a survey conducted by the state government in 2002 also could not be implemented for different welfare schemes as the planning commission did not agree with the outcome of the survey.