Civic body polls: Administrators appointed in 66 ULBs after expiry of tenure

Bhubaneswar: After the five-year tenure of 65 urban local bodies (ULBs) and Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) ended today, the State government appointed administrators to manage the affairs in these civic bodies.

Ganjam Collector was appointed administrator of the Berhampur Municipal Corporation.

Similarly, district Collectors have been appointed administrators of Angul, Balasore, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Khurda, Koraput, Puri, Rayagada, Nayagarh and Malkangiri municipalities. Gajapati district collector will take charge as administrator of the Paralakhemundi Municipality.

The government has appointed Additional District Magistrates (ADM) and Sub-Collectors as administrators at other places.

In a notification, the Housing and Urban Development department said the State government appointed the administrators to exercise the powers and discharge duties of the office bearers of the civic bodies during the interval period between expiry of the term of the office till the date of the first meeting of the newly elected members.

The move came after the Secretary of the State Election Commission, Udaya Narayan Das wrote a letter on September 26 asking the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, G. Mathi Vathanan to take necessary steps for management of affairs of the 65 ULBs and BeMC after expiry of their tenures.

Citing delay in delimitation of wards and reservation of seats in urban local bodies, the election commission, in the letter expressed its inability to undertake election process before September 29.

“The Commission is in no position to complete the election or initiate further election process before September 29 in spite of its best efforts due to no receipt of ward delimitation and reservation order,” the letter read.

The commission is yet to receive the details from the State government and district magistrates on ward delimitation and reservation of seats in the said ULBs.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected Odisha government’s plea challenging the Orissa High Court order on reservation of seats in urban local bodies in the State.

Upholding the High Court’s earlier order, the apex court has made it clear that reservation of seats for the scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) and other backward classes (OBC) in the state for forthcoming urban local body (ULB) polls cannot exceed 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the Opposition slammed the ruling-BJD saying that it does not want to face the civic polls in the current situation.

“The State government is trying to block a democratic process as it doesn’t want to face the polls currently,” said Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik.

Expressing similar views, BJP’s state secretary, Lekhashree Samantsinghar said, “The State government does not want to conduct civic polls at present. Even after the Supreme Court rap, the State government is planning to file a review petition in the apex court.”

Declining the charges, BJD spokesperson, Sasmit Patra said “Within the boundaries of the system, the State government had moved the apex court. After the SC’s recent decision, the State government will review it and take appropriate action. The matter should not be viewed from a political standpoint.”

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