ONGOLE: Ongole Municipal Corporation (OMC) is reportedly finding it difficult to identify suitable venues for 70 ward secretariat offices, which are going to be functional from next month, in the city, as most of its buildings and sites are reportedly occupied or encroached.
As per norms, each ward secretariat office should be established in an area of around 2,000 sq ft and within city limits, which made allotting spaces a difficult task for the authorities, who were able to identify only 20 venues so far.
OMC commissioner P Niranjan Reddy and engineer D Sundararami Reddy recently visited several areas of the city in search of suitable buildings that can house these offices. They inspected several municipal structures that were serving as Anganwadi centres, community halls, schools, function halls and MEPMA buildings. However, only a few of them were identified with areas big enough for the ward secretariat offices to operate.
As such, the authorities were now mulling to even consider those buildings with an area of 1,000-1,500 sq ft area for the offices. The officials were confident that after the establishment of the offices, they would be in a position to construct the rooms as per the necessity.
Meanwhile, the Municipal Administration and Urban Development department has reportedly asked the OMC to go for rented venues if they were unable to find buildings for establishment of the ward secretariats. The department has also agreed to pay `10 per sq ft as rent to the private building owners. But, the spaces for rent in OMC limits were available at `20 sq ft due to high demand. The OMC was also reportedly asked to fit two offices in one building. For the merged villages, the OMC officials have decided to establish village secretariat offices in the panchayat offices.
“So far we have identified 20 buildings in government and municipality complexes. For the remaining ward secretariat offices, private buildings will be rented. If suitable buildings are not available in a ward, a temporary ward secretariat office will be set up in a nearby area. Meanwhile, a plan is also being chalked out to take back the encroached municipal sites,” P Niranjana Reddy told TNIE.
Secretariats to start working from Oct 2
As per the orders by the Director of Municipal Administration, a ward secretariat office will be given 10 employees, computers, internet facility and furniture, along with electricity and water supply. The required repair works are scheduled to be completed by September 20. By October 2, all ward/village secretariat offices will start functioning.