Chhattrapur: The long-standing demand for municipality status to Chhatrapur, the district headquarters of Ganjam and a notified area council (NAC), has allegedly been shelved owing to apathy of the state government, a report said.
People of many peripheral villages had agreed to be part of the civic body to see its expanded territorial limits and population as required for municipality.
Locals had raised the issue well before the civic body polls, but the demand was ignored.
In the last civic body elections, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had grabbed the chairperson’s post, but this time the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate won the seat in the direct election. The victory of the BJP candidate as chairperson is viewed as an outcome of the people’s resentment against the official apathy towards the municipality status issue, it is learnt.
Notably, about two and half years ago, the Orissa High Court had directed the state government to take steps for declaring Chhatrapur as a municipality, but to no avail. “All that was done was only official communication between the government and the district administration,” said locals.
At a press meet held six months ago, Ganjam Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange had said that a proposal to grant municipality status to Chhatrapur was sent to the state government and that the state government would take a decision soon.
In a similar tone of assurance, Berhampur MP Chandra Sekhar Sahu had also assured the people that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would take a decision well before the elections and people of Chhatrapur would not be let down.
Reports said as per Odisha Municipal Corporation Act, an NAC having more than 25,000 population needs to be declared as a municipality.
As per 2011 census, Chhatrapur had a population of 22,027. It was claimed that after 10 years, its population must have crossed the 25,000 mark.
Besides, many villagers of two panchayats like Kanamana and Agastinuagan abutting the civic body had agreed to merge with the NAC. If the present population of the NAC and the peripheral villages like Puruna Chhatrapur, GN Palam, Bhagyalaxminagar and Bank Colony put together, the total population would cross 28,000.
Newly-elected NAC chairperson Sarmistha Pradhan assured that she would initiate efforts in this direction.