Patna, May 27: Members of various urban local bodies (ULBs) across the state criticised the increasing authoritarian control by the state government on their functioning.
Ward councillors and mayors of various municipal corporations and councils across the state and delegates of various agencies took part in a meeting organised by Bihar State Local Bodies Council today at the conference hall of Bihar Industries Association.
“The state government has taken away all the financial and administrative powers of ULBs. In fact, there was a case in the Supreme Court regarding the protection of rights of ward councillors in the state wherein the apex court had given its approval for the formation of an empowered standing committee, which was against the will of the state government. Later, an empowered standing committee of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) was also formed after an order of Patna High Court. However, such a standing committee has no right as they cannot take any action on their own and if at all it takes any action then the executive and chief executive officer of the ULB concerned would be held responsible for committing irregularity,” said Vinay Kumar Pappu, the deputy mayor of PMC.
The people’s representatives also discussed issues related to amendments in Bihar Municipal Act, 2007, at length.
“The amendment of Section 79 of the Bihar Municipal Act in 2009 has taken away the rights given by Section 74 of the Constitution. A clause in Section 79 of the act has taken the administrative and financial powers related to schemes and programmes. Now, the ULB has no power on selection and implementation of any projects in its area and all such matters are being looked after by the state government. While the ULBs are more aware of the ground issues, they have no rights to either prioritise schemes in their area or choose executive agencies for the schemes as everything is controlled by the state government,” said Alok Kumar, mayor of Begusarai.
Issues related to appointment of executive and chief executive officers of ULBs by state government were also discussed. “The heads of ULBs are appointed by the state government without taking the consent of other members of the ULBs. Most importantly, not a single member of the ULB is consulted in their appointment,” said Dinesh Kumar, mayor of Biharsharif.