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Borough head bill passed

The tenure of borough chairpersons in the city is set to be of five years following an amendment to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation Act, 1980, passed by the Assembly on Monday.

The chairpersons till now have to seek re-election at the start of every fiscal.

“The election of a borough chairperson takes over two months. During the period the borough is without its head and several key decisions, including disbursing money for development projects, are kept pending,” municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim said while outlining the rationale behind the amendment.

The CMC, the third largest civic body in the country, has 141 wards divided into 15 boroughs. Each borough is headed by a chairperson elected from among the councillors of the wards concerned.

“A key function of a borough chairperson is to disburse money to councillors for executing civic projects,” said an official. Each councillor gets Rs 12.5 lakh a year for development work in his/her ward.

The amendment, awaiting the governor’s nod, states that a chairperson will lose the post if the majority of the councillors in the borough pass a resolution for his removal. “Such a resolution can be moved six months after a chairperson assumes office. If a resolution fails to get the support of the majority of the members, a second can be moved after another six months,” said minister Hakim.

The chairman will also have to leave office if he ceases to be a councillor or is convicted in a criminal case.

For political parties, the borough chairperson is a key post and the incumbent plays an important role in local politics.

Earlier this year, Mohammad Iqbal Munna, a Trinamul Congress councillor and chairman of borough XV, was charged with the murder of sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury, who was shot dead during a clash outside Harimohan Ghose College in Garden Reach on February 12. Munna was removed from the post following his arrest in Bihar.