CHENNAI: The administrative control over thousands of rural and urban local bodies in Tamil Nadu will now be done by special officers, till the polls to these local bodies, now mired in legal tangles, are held to elect the new set of representatives. The term of the present council is getting over on Monday.
The municipal administration department and rural development department today notified the appointment of special officers to urban and rural local bodies including municipal corporations, municipalities, town panchayats, district panchayats, panchayat unions, and village panchayats.
“The notification will come into force from October 25,” reads the notifications issued by municipal administration secretary Phanindra Reddy and rural development secretary Hans Raj Verma.
These special officers will hold the office to the discharge the functions of the local bodies until the day on which the first meeting of the local bodies are held after the date of commencement of the Ordinance, or up to December 31 – whichever is earlier.
Commissioner of municipal corporations will be the special officers of the respective corporations while commissioners of the municipalities will be the special officers of the respective municipalities.
Assistant directors and executive officers of the town panchayats will be the special officers of the two categories of town panchayats.
The block development officers of the respective panchayat unions will act as special officers of the respective village panchayats. Similarly, additional director/additional collector/joint director/project director of the District Rural Development Agencies of the respective districts as special officers of the 31 district panchayats. The assistant director (panchayats) and assistant director (Audit) of rural development and panchayat raj department of the respective districts as special officers of the panchayat unions.
On October 19, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao promulgated two ordinances for appointing special officers to local bodies, elections to which were postponed after the Madras High Court quashed the State Election Commission’s notifications. The elections were scheduled for October 17 and 19.
In its order on October 5, the Madras High Court had quashed the two notifications issued by the SEC for conducting elections to the local bodies in two phases, and directed it to complete the election process by December 31 by issuing fresh notifications.
The court also directed that special officers should be appointed till the elections are held.
Appointment of special officers to local bodies is being done after two long decades. The Chennai Corporation remained under the control of special officers for about 23 years from November 1973 to October 1996 after the council was dissolved following the muster roll scandal.
|Total rural local bodies||12,943|
|Total urban local bodies||664|