Bhubaneswar, Sept. 24: Civic work can wait, but not party duty.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation is sitting on several crucial decisions for more than two weeks as political compulsions have taken precedence over Ananta Narayan Jena’s job as mayor.
Jena is missing from action at the municipal corporation ever since he was assigned the job to oversee the BJD’s campaign for Berhampur civic elections held on September 19.
After the poll results were out, he was again sent on a trip, probably to Maharashtra, so that the newly elected members of the Berhampur Municipal Corporation could not switch loyalties.
“I am outside Bhubaneswar on a personal trip, but it does not relate to escorting any group of elected representatives from any place in Odisha. The allegations are baseless and spread by the Opposition,” Jena said.
“With the mayor remaining absent for such a long time, works are badly suffering at our end. The outcomes of nine standing committees in the corporation are not getting executed properly as the recommendations are to be executed once the mayor gives a nod to them,” said a councillor and chairman of a standing committee on condition of anonymity.
After the September 19 civic polls in the state covering 66 urban local bodies, the civic polls for the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation is likely to be notified around the third week of October. Therefore, the corporation has less than 20 days to execute its works.
“We have to utilise this transition till October third week, so that sanitation, health care, public works, preparedness for the Puja and winter festive season do not suffer. The mayor’s absence in the city will affect them,” he said.
Councillor Padmanabh Dash of Saheed Nagar said: “The mayor’s absence in the municipal corporation office has created an unusual situation. Officials, engineers and other employees, too, are remaining absent as the office has become headless. If the situation continues for more days, there will be definitely problem for the people as redress of public grievances will also suffer.”
Councillor Lala Ashok Kumar Ray of Kharavela Nagar said: “The Puja preparedness is suffering this year as the meetings organised to streamline things are to be chaired by the mayor. Repair works for roads near the pandals will be seriously hit this year.”
Jena, speaking from an undisclosed destination, refuted the charges.
“In my absence, the secretary-cum-officer on special duty to the mayor is co-ordinating day-to-day work. In case of any emergency, my colleagues are contacting me. Besides, if need be, the municipal commissioner, too, can take decisions on behalf of the mayor. The remaining file work will be done once I reach Bhubaneswar,” he said.
City health officer Chandrika Prasad Das echoed the mayor.
He said usual sanitation work had not been affected.
“The special measures taken before the Puja will shortly start. We never take initiative or ask Puja committees to segregate polythene wastes near the pandals. We only spread awareness on lesser use of polythene, but never work as an enforcing agency,” Das said.
Party’s gain, city’s loss
Man on the move
Bhubaneswar mayor Ananta Narayan Jena was camping in Berhampur for past two weeks to steer BJD’s municipal poll campaign
Tasked with the job to prevent cross-voting in Berhampur mayoral polls on Sept 30, Jena is accompanying victorious BJD candidates on a “pleasure trip” to Maharashtra
With Jena off on
party duty, work at Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has been hit. Here’s a list of jobs awaiting
Decisions on nine different standing
committees, including public health and
Decision on pre-Puja sanitation work
Decision on formation of squads to ensure better sanitation during Puja
Decision on deployment of more dustbins at strategic locations and segregation of plastic wastes
As notification for civic polls likely by third week of October, delay in getting mayor’s approval will affect work