Odisha passes bills to conduct direct elections for civic body heads

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Tuesday passed the Odisha Municipal (amendment) Bill 2018 and the Odisha Municipal Corporation (amendment) Bill 2018 enabling people to directly vote for the mayors in municipal corporations and chairpersons in the municipality and notified area councils (NACs).

Currently, the civic body heads are elected from among the corporators (mayors) and councilors (chairpersons).

With the passing of the bill, people can now elect the mayor and chairpersons of their urban local bodies. Odisha has a total of 113 urban local bodies.

The bills were passed in the absence of the Congress and the BJP legislators who staged a walkout in the Assembly.

The House witnessed a noisy day on Tuesday as all the three major parties- Congress, BJP and the ruling-BJD- created ruckus over different issues. At the beginning of the session, BJP legislators wearing black gowns raised the issue of Cooperative bank loan scam demanding an explanation from the concerned minister of the ruling party.

Similarly, the Congress raised the issue of lawyers’ agitation, alleging that due to State government’s inaction, proceedings at the High Court and other lower Courts have been affected.