The proposal of converting Rourkela Municipality into Corporation has seen no progress due to population hurdles. Tribals of five gram panchayats adjacent to Rourkela city have been opposing the proposal ever since it was placed before the Government.
Sundargarh Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia said they recently sent the report about objections by tribals to the State Government.
The Urban Development Department would decide if it wants to include the slum pockets which technically neither come under urban nor rural areas or revoke the notification of 1995 which divided the Rourkela city into Rourkela Municipality and Steel Township of the Rourkela Steel Plant.
Sources said ever since the Government announced its intention to include a population of above 35,000 residing in Jagda, Jhirpani, Kalunga, Jhartarang and Chikatmati gram panchayats under Rourkela Municipality, over 70 per cent of tribals are up in arms against it.
BJP’s national vice-president Jual Oram said tribals are happy under the present arrangement and being a Scheduled district, they enjoy the provisions of PESA Act.
He said the Government should revoke the notification of 1995 which would take the city’s population to around 5.36 lakhs for the Corporation tag.
According to latest census, population of areas under Rourkela Municipality comes to 2.74 lakh which is 26,000 short of the population criteria of three lakh. With outgrowth areas, the population comes to around 3.2 lakh, while the figure of steel township is around 2.16 lakh. This takes the total population figure of Rourkela urban area to 5.36 lakh.
Former Municipality vice-chairman RN Mishra said to meet the criteria of three lakh, the slum clusters in and around South Rourkela on RSP land along with new areas of Hamirpur, Tumkela and Luakera could be included and RSP has given clearance to it. “It would be better to make the city a single entity by revoking the Government notification,” he added.
While BJD minister Subrat Tarai has been favouring inclusion of slum pockets in RSP township limits, a section of BJD leaders reportedly does not want the Corporation tag for their political interests.