Ramadass calls for early elections to local bodies

 thehindu.com  12/04/2019 19:40:20 

The recent statement of the LAD Minister A. Namassivayam that the local body polls in the Union Territory of Puducherry would be conducted only after a new delimitation of wards is an undemocratic and irrational ploy not to hold civic elections in Puducherry, M. Ramadass, former MP has said.

In a statement, Mr. Ramadass termed the existing delimitation satisfactory and called for early elections to the local bodies.

The two-fold reasons advanced by the Minister for undertaking a fresh exercise of delimitation  disparities in number of wards and population  are unconvincing and hence unacceptable. These concerns are procedurally incorrect and perhaps emerge from the failure to peruse the entire report of the Government-appointed committee, he said.

It may be recollected that the present delimitation process was undertaken by a four-member committee appointed by the government. The committee included the Director of Local Administration who was the Member Secretary and the Commissioner of Puducherry Municipality who was the Member of the Committee. The committee after adopting the accepted normal principles completed the work and handed over the report to the Government in January 2016. The draft proposal was notified on January 28 and published in the Gazette on February 1, seeking objections, if any, from the public.

According to Mr. Ramadass, at that point of time the Chief Minister should have consulted all parties and sought their opinion, objections and suggestions. This was not done. Nobody who is raising objections now submitted the same to the government at that point of time, he added.

However some objections received in this regard have been considered by the government and the delimitation process was finalised. The government kept the finalised report in cold storage for about 27 months. Accepting the report in toto, the Chief Minister and the Local Administration Minister permitted the publication of the final notification of delimited wards in the Extraordinary Gazette dated March 7, 2019, with the approval of the Lt. Governor.

Now, nine months after the final publication was made, the Minister talks about objections from political parties, Mr. Ramadass said.

According to 2011 Census on the basis of which the delimitation is/will be done, the population of Puducherry Municipality is 2,44,377 and that of Oulgaret is 3,00,104. Naturally, the number of wards will be lesser in Puducherry and greater in Oulgaret.

How can there be equal number of wards and the same population per ward in these two Municipalities even if the average size of population is uniform between Municipalities, say, 7,000 or 6,000 or 5,000 or 4,000, the former MP pointed out.

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