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BDOs to take charge of SMP

Siliguri, July 17: The Darjeeling district administration has instructed the BDOs of all four blocks of the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad to take charge of cash and assets and prepare an inventory of all items in the 22 panchayats and four panchayat samiti offices.

Sources said the move followed a directive from the state panchayat and rural development department as the terms of the elected boards in the panchayats and panchayat samitis ended on July 15 and July 16, respectively. The four blocks are Matigara, Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phansidewa.

“Terms of the boards in 22 panchayats and the four panchayat samitis under Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad ended on July 15 and July 16. A circular reached us, based on which, we have passed instructions to the BDOs,” a senior official of Darjeeling district administration, said. “It is not that the BDOs have been appointed administrators but they have been asked to take charge of the cash and other assets in the panchayat and panchayat samiti offices. They can do it themselves or depute somebody they feel fit to prepare an inventory of all items in each of the offices. The elected boards in the two lower tiers of the SMP stand dissolved.”

The three-tier elections of the SMP were held in 2009 and boards were formed in all the tiers, SMP being the topmost.

“Despite repeated reminders from the state Election Commission that the three-tier SMP polls were due, the state did not announce dates. The boards would stand dissolved and administrators would be appointed to run regular activities in all three tiers,” said a political observer.

While boards in two lower tiers have dissolved, tenure of the seven-member SMP board is left for three more days.

“I will attend office tomorrow for the last time as tenure of the SMP board will end on July 21. Once the board is dissolved, the district magistrate of Darjeeling will take care of it,” said SMP sabhadhipati Jyoti Tirkey.

Today, CPM leader Asok Bhattacharya said: “It is undemocratic on the part of the state to sit idle and let the elected bodies dissolve. Trinamul is apprehensive of performing badly in SMP and they have adopted a strategy of delaying the polls. What Trinamul leaders have failed to realise is that the mandate would not go in their favour as they have stopped all development work in rural areas of Siliguri subdivision for a year, since they took charge in SMP.”