BHUBANESWAR: The three-tier panchayat polls scheduled for February 2022 are likely to be delayed as the State government is yet to complete the ward delimitation exercise and reservation of seats. Though the State Election Commission (SEC) has written to the government thrice - two letters in January and one in March 2021 - to complete the exercise, the process is yet to be started.
Secretary of SEC Rabindra Nath Sahu told mediapersons that the commission will start the ground work for holding elections as soon as the delimitation and reservation exercises are over. Official sources, however, said the delimitation and reservation work has been held up because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will only resume after the situation improves.
The tenure of elected representatives of all rural bodies across the State will end on March 10, 2022. So, the delimitation and reservation work will have to be completed before the polls.
The government will have to complete the reservation and delimitation work as per a Supreme Court order which asked the State to ensure 50 per cent reservation in panchayat elections. The reservation of seats was more than 50 per cent in 2017 panchayat election.
Sources said the government will have to amend provisions in the existing panchayat laws to comply with the Supreme Court order. The laws can be amended only during the next Assembly session which is likely to be held in July.
Similarly, elections to various urban local bodies (ULBs) in the State, which has been pending for more than two years, has been delayed over the same issue as the government is yet to amend the existing laws to determine the reservation and delimitation of seats.
The reservation of seats for SC, ST and OBC in the ULB polls will be possible only after necessary amendments to the existing Orissa Municipal Act-1950 and Orissa Municipal Corporation Act-2003. Targeting the government over the issue, former minister Panchanan Kanungo said process for postponing the polls has started as the ruling party does not want to face the people.
Car parking projects to be completed by August 31
BHUBANESWAR: The Bhubaneswar Smart City Ltd (BSCL) will complete the two multi-level car parking projects at Rajmahal and Saheed Nagar by August 31. BSCL CEO Sanjay Kumar Singh, who reviewed progress of the projects recently, has asked the officials concerned to expedite the work and complete it within the revised deadline.
While the foundation stones for both the projects were laid in June 2017, around 20 per cent work at Saheed Nagar and 30 per cent at Rajmahal are pending.