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Survey to reserve OBC poll seats

Calcutta, May 7: The panchayat and rural development department will conduct a survey to determine the population of other backward classes (OBC) in all 341 blocks of Bengal.

The survey is needed to reserve seats for OBC candidates in elections to all three tiers of the panchayati raj system next year. The number of seats to be reserved will be fixed on the basis of the OBC population in a particular area.

“Seats will be reserved in accordance with the provisions of the West Bengal Panchayat (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which states that reservation will be done on the basis of the OBC population in a particular area. For example, if a gram panchayat has 20 per cent OBC population, 20 per cent seats of the rural body will be reserved for the OBCs,” a senior official said.

Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee today saidhe would hold a videoconference with all block development officers on Wednesday to tell them that the work has to be completed on time.

“The survey will start from May 10. The block-wise list of OBCs will have to be prepared by August 24. Until the survey is done, we cannot implement the reservation,” he said.

The government has started the process of preparing detailed project reports (DPRs) for the Rs 4,000 crore sanctioned by the Centre for upgradation of moram roads in rural areas into metalled ones and build new roads.

Mukherjee will hold a meeting with all district magistrates and zilla parishad chairpersons to ensure that the DPRs are submitted on time.

“When I took over as panchayat minister, I found that DPRs for only 19km of roads had been sent to the Centre since April 2011. We are trying to prepare more DPRs. The situation has improved but it is far from satisfactory. That’s the reason why the state did not get much funds under the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana last year,” Mukherjee said.

“In this fiscal year, we have taken proper initiatives to submit DPRs on time. According to the guidelines of the Centre, the DPRs to upgrade 5,733km of moram roads have to be submitted by October 24. For the new roads, DPRs will have to be submitted by June 24. We hope that we will be able to achieve this,” the minister added.