Bhubaneswar: After its preparations for the three-tier Panchayat elections were wrapped up, the state government has initiated the process for the much-delayed elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
The Housing & Urban Development (H&UD) department has asked all Collectors to complete delimitation of wards and reservation of seats in the ULBs by December 13. However, the commissioners of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur municipal corporations have been directed to complete the exercise by January 20,2022.
Director of Municipal Administration (DMA) Sangramjit Nayak wrote a letter to all Collectors in this regard, Monday.
“I am directed to inform you that consequent upon amendment to the Odisha Municipal Act, 1950, after careful consideration the government has been pleased to decide that the delimitation of wards & reservation of seats for the general election to municipalities and NACs of the state shall be made afresh,” Nayak said.
All the previous communications made by the H&UD department about the urban polls are hereby cancelled and actions taken thereon have become inoperative, he said.
The DMA said the five-year term of councils of 101 ULBs and six month period in case of newly-constituted four NACs have already been completed.
“The State Election Commission (SEC), Odisha has desired that necessary steps may be taken immediately by the government for issue of schedule for delimitation of wards & reservation of seats at the earliest, so as to enable the SEC to take steps for preparation of electoral roll and conduct of election,” Nayak wrote.
Accordingly, as a part of the action plan, the Collectors have been directed to take necessary steps to divide the municipal areas into wards and to reserve seats for SC, ST, BCC and women as per the amended Act. While dividing a municipal area into wards, equitable distribution of population, as published in 2011 census report, among different wards and compactness of area shall be taken into consideration in accordance with the Act, he told the Collectors.
Further, Collectors are directed to forward the received appeal petitions against the notification on the delimitation of the wards to the state government for hearing of appeal and final decision.
The draft notification will be issued November 11 while November 18 has been set as the last date for receipt of objections and suggestions. The final notification at district-level relating to the delimitation of wards and reservation of seats will be out, November 29 next. The people can file petitions against the notification before the H&UD department, which will be heard between November 29 and December 13.
Similarly, municipal commissioners of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur have been asked to issue draft notifications December 10 while people can submit objections and suggestions by December 19. The final notification will be published January 20,2022.