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Civic council sits on issues

- Work takes back seat in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 20: Residents of the city are plagued with civic problems such as poor sanitation, bad roads and drains as the municipal corporation has reportedly done no work since November last and the new council is yet to meet.

The pre-election mood was evident during meeting of the outgoing council of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation in the last week of November as just about half the councillors attended it. The model code of conduct came into effect on December 6 last year and continued till January 9.

After civic polls and election of the mayor, election of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation came as another distraction as most of the councillors and the mayor remained busy camping in the neighbouring city and a council meeting could not take place.

“We are experiencing a difficult time now. As the delay is mounting and the general election is already staring at us, I think developments will completely be neglected if the corporation does not start functioning immediately,” said Nayapalli resident Bijay Mishra.

Jali Gali at Chniatamaniswar needs immediate attention of the civic body.

“Yesterday, an inebriated man fell into the drainage channel No. 6 and hurt himself. The iron grills on the road have been missing since Phailin struck and no repairs have been done ever since,” Mishra said.

Local residents threatened to go to police against councillor Amaresh Jena for negligence. “I have assured them that work will begin once the council starts functioning,” Jena said.

The drainage job is the water resources department’s responsibility and the civic body has to co-ordinate with it.

This co-ordination, however, is not possible in the absence of a city engineer, who is the head of the engineering wing at the corporation. But, a person in the rank of superintending engineer is posted there. The post has been lying vacant over the past three months. This has affected the decision-making process at the top level in the engineering wing of the civic administration.

Senior councillor and former chairman of the standing committee on sanitation Seikh Nizammudin said: “Last Sunday, the shower exposed the lacunae as many drains were yet to be de-silted. Also, the solid waste management process is in a shambles.”

“With the focus shifting to the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, if the Centre declares the general election in February or the first week of March, it will again be a difficult task for the municipal corporation to meet the people’s expectations. The overall sanitation mess might create more vector-borne diseases,” he said.

Municipal corporation secretary Debashish Mohanty, who is in charge of the affairs of the municipal council, said: “First, the members of the standing committees will be nominated. Once the committees are formed and their chairmen elected, a date would be fixed for the council meeting.”

At present, the municipal corporation has eight standing committees to carry out work in various spheres. The panels are for public health, power supply drainage and environment, public works, planning and development, taxation finance and accounts, education, recreation and culture, licence and appeals, contracts, corporation establishment and grievance and social justice.

Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said: “We are running little late, but the municipal council will meet shortly to discuss various issues and problems for the people.”