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Poll bell tolls for Bhubaneswar
Delimitation adds seven wards to city

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 4: The state government has expressed its eagerness to hold the municipal corporation polls and a notification to this effect has been submitted to the state election commission today.

The housing and urban development department had issued the notification late last night. The poll panel will take a final call to fix the date for election to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

Reacting to the notification, state election commissioner Ajit Tripathy said: “We have received government notification and the poll schedule will be prepared according to the prescribed norms.’’

The delimitation process, which was done on the basis of Census 2011, has added seven new wards to the existing 60 in Bhubaneswar.

Additional district magistrate and election officer for the poll Manoj Patnaik told The Telegraph: “We have submitted the final voters’ list to the election commission on November 26. We will submit signed copies to all designated political parties on Thursday and from Friday the general public can purchase ward-wise voters’ list from the corporation office.’’

Sources, however, said that the polls would probably be held in the third week of January. As the five-year tenure of the municipal council ends on December 9, it will cease to function from that day.

Political analysts had predicting that the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar would go to polls simultaneously in February. However, the row over relief distribution might delay civic polls in Cuttack.

The BJD, which emerged victorious in the recent civic polls held in west Odisha districts, is likely to fare well in the municipal elections in the twin cities. Earlier, the government had on November 18 issued a notification to assign the Bhubaneswar mayor’s post in the unreserved category and the top post in Cuttack would go to a woman candidate from the scheduled caste.

With the city in poll mode, aspiring candidates of different political parties are trying their best impress on their leaders to get a ticket. While some of them have launched a poster campaign, others are throwing lavish parties in their respective wards.

Several influential Opposition candidates are also trying to get a BJD ticket after the ruling party’s impressive show in the civic polls held over the past few months.

Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, hopeful to retain his chair for the second term, said: “People are with us and we will do better and win over 60 seats this time.’’

achievements

  • Successful implementation of IT-based applications for online booking of kalyan mandaps, payment of holding tax, filling of marriage, birth and death certificates
  • Introduction of Jan Suvidha Kendra on corporation campus
  • Computer-based book keeping in accounts section
  • Construction of over 300km road
  • Construction of three community halls, one gymnasium and four colony parks
  • Street lights at 10 major stretches across city

TALL PROMISES FALL FLAT

The present council of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation will be dissolved on December 9. During its five-year tenure, the municipal council had announced several projects to change the face of the city. But many of these projects have failed to take off despite tall claims. The Telegraph turns the spotlight on seven such projects

Foot overbridges

Foot overbridges at Jayadev Vihar, Station Square and Saheed Nagar

Status: Work has started only at Jayadev Vihar. Fabricated iron parts will arrive shortly for installation at Jayadev Vihar. The other two sites have got mired in controversy. A decision to shift location has delayed the Station Square overbridge project, while traders are up in arms over site selection at Saheed Nagar. Though tender process for the two sites is over, it will take more time to resolve the contentious issues

Super specialty hospital

A super specialty hospital at Gadakana to help people from Mancheswar, Sainik School, Vani Vihar, Nandankanan, Raghunathpur, Patia, Damana, Veer Surendra Sai Nagar, Sailashri Vihar, Niladri Vihar, Chandrasekharpur and Jayadev Vihar. The integrated project proposes to link the health care facility with six existing dispensaries across the city and the old municipal corporation hospital

Status: Since its announcement in May this year, one of the leading international organisations collaborating with the corporation for the project has held only a few meetings with the civic body. For work to begin is still a far cry

Decentralisation plan

Five zonal offices to facilitate better administration and effective implementation of the regulations

 

Status: Not a single zonal office has started till date. The civic body needs to appoint 150 employees to make the zonal offices operational. As additional appointment needs government approval, the plan to have zonal offices may not see the light of the day in the near future

Energy-efficient street lighting

Install energy-efficient streetlights (14,000 and 16,000 lights each in two phases) to reduce corporation’s power bill by up to 80 per cent

Status: Installation of light emitting diodes (LED) for demonstration was done on two stretches - one between Ram Mandir and Station Square and the other between Power House and Jayadev Vihar Square. But the main project is yet to take off. The corporation, however, has inked a deal with a company to implement the project

Polythene ban

Ban on use of polythene bags below the thickness level of 40 micron

Status: While neighbouring Cuttack has done it, municipal authorities in Bhubaneswar cite lack of adequate manpower and absence of polythene thickness measuring equipment for its failure to implement the ban. Officials of the corporation's environment department feel that to make the ban effective they need at least 10 employees who can check the quality of polythene

 

Solid waste treatment plant

Installing a Rs 60-crore solid waste treatment plant

Status: Tender process for the project started in September this year, but till date there is no progress on the plan to utilise the 400 tonnes of solid waste generated each day. The civic body has identified four local transit points, but the transport mechanism from temporary dumping yard near Sainik School to Bhuasuni is yet to be finalised. However, preliminary work on developing the Bhuasuni site has started. The solid waste treatment plant may take another year or even more with the tender process yet to start

Mechanised slaughterhouse

A modern abattoir at Gadakana

Status: The city still has to depend on its sole manual slaughterhouse in Meherpalli. The proposed mechanised slaughterhouse is yet to start. The civic body has done several flip-flops on the number of slaughterhouses the city should have. The latest plan is to have one modern slaughterhouse. The only forward movement on the issue is that in the third week of November the civic body has issued a notification to start the tender process. But there is no prize for guessing when the project will start. The meeting for choosing the possible executor of the project will be held on December 23

Text by Bibhuti Barik and Sandip Bal, pictures by Ashwinee Pati