Kendrapara: The Kendrapara Municipality, formed with just 14 hamlets March 10, 1869, has completed 154 years. Regarded as one of the oldest municipalities of Odisha, Kendrapara will see municipal elections after a lengthy gap of 11 years. Notably, the last ULB elections (2013-14) here could not be held due to legal hassles related to delimitation issues.
Candidates and voters are eagerly waiting for the democratic exercise. All the three major parties – the BJD, Congress and BJP – have started their exercise to pick the right candidates.
The ruling BJD has already started its campaign highlighting the development works in Kendrapara town. However, the opposition has alleged the lack of basic amenities like roads, drains, cleanliness and garbage management. The main issue for the candidates here is addressing the poor drainage, messy sanitation and bad roads.
“Sixty eight per cent of the people residing here are daily wagers and there are no major industries here, despite being one of the oldest municipalities in Odisha. Ironically, the Shri Baladev Jew Handlooms company has shut down. People here are perennially affected by poor drainage and pollution. Some streets in the colony always remain waterlogged. Many residents have alleged frequent flood-like situation due to shoddy drainage management,” Odisha Janata Party chairperson candidate Tulasi Maharana said.
Similarly, Congress candidate Laxmipriya Barik said, “Unwanted utility poles and electric transformers in the middle of the roads, stray cattle, and encroachment of vending zones are some of the daily problems faced by residents. Furthermore, the Gobari river has been filled with filth. Garbage management is a huge problem here leading to mosquito menace and vector-borne diseases. Traffic problem is also a major hurdle.”
BJP candidate Bijaylaxmi Dash said, “There is an utter neglect to tourism here. Ancient temples and tourist places have been wallowing in neglect. Basic facilities like water, road connectivity and cleanliness are not available for the people here.”
However, the ruling BJD candidate Sarita Sahu rubbished the claims of the opposition parties. “The Odisha government has taken up many developmental projects including beautification of the town here. ‘Mission Shakti’ is being run for the empowerment of women. The Patnaik-led government aims at making Kendrapara one of the finest and most developed districts. We will win easily as people believe in us,” said a confident Sahu.