With Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announcing to upgrade Sambalpur Municipality into a corporation, the Rourkela Congress Committee has accused ruling BJD of deliberately scuttling chances of the Rourkela Municipality to get corporation status.
The Rourkela Municipality has been vying for the status since long. Excluding the industrial township of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP), the population of Municipality area has reached 2.74 lakh.
Former Congress chairman of the Municipality and present councillor Ramesh Bal said people living in the ‘No Man’s Land’ should immediately be included in the Municipality limits to meet the population criteria.
This ‘unlucky’ population of ‘No Man’s Land’ comprises over 30,000 people of unauthorised slums of Sonaparbat, Nabakrishnanagar, Dharamdihi, Bhanja Colony, Gopapbandhunagar and IDL Colony and other small pockets on the southern tip of Rourkela city.
Bal said if the BJD-led municipality and Rourkela MLA Sarada Prasad Nayak (BJD) had tried, some adjacent sub-urban areas including Vedvyas, Jagda and Jhirpani could have been included to the municipality adding 25,000 population.
Bal alleged that in order to retain his supremacy, Nayak never made sincere efforts even when he was urban minister. District Congress committee held Nayak and BJD responsible for failing to secure corporation status for Rourkela Municipality despite its eligibility.
Refuting the charges, Nayak said Rourkela is also under active consideration of the government but it is short of 26,000 population to stake claim for corporation status. He said the proposal for amalgamation of Kalunga, Jhartarang, south Rourkela slums, Jagda and Jhirpani is underway and added that the process is a time-taking one. “The Sambalpur Municipality has the advantage of having boundary close to three other Notified Area Councils (NACs), while several slums of Rourkela city are located in the industrial township of RSP,” he said.
Municipality Executive Officer BK Swain said a proposal for inclusion of south Rourkela slums was submitted in 2010.
“Following the demand, a fresh proposal would be sent to the Urban Department for corporation status. Even the newly inaugurated municipality building is modelled in the lines of a corporation,” he said.