Cong, BJP spar over the merger of villages with urban local bodies
On Friday, the government issued a notification, which legally permits expansion of 14 urban bodies including the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC). Congress leader Surendra Kumar alleged that the merger was dictatorial as it was carried out despite strong protests by the residents of villages.dehradun Updated: Oct 28, 2017 20:25 IST
DEHRADUN: The Congress criticised the BJP government’s recent decision to upgrade the Rishikesh and Kotdwar municipal boards to municipal corporations, alleging that it was with an eye on the urban body polls.
It also dubbed the BJP government’s move to merge villages and peri urban areas around cities and towns with urban local bodies as autocratic. “This government’s step to upgrade the two municipal boards is a political move initiated with an eye on the local body polls due early next year,” said Congress leader Surendra Kumar. “Had the ruling party been genuinely concerned about the people’s issues, it would have fulfilled its promise by declaring Kotdwar a district.”
Former chief minister BC Khanduri had made the promise prior to the 2012 assembly polls, he said..
On Friday, the government issued a notification which legally permits expansion of 14 urban bodies, including the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC). Kumar alleged that the merger was dictatorial as it was carried out despite strong protests by the residents of villages. The directive also clears the decks for merger of peri urban areas and villages with 14 urban local bodies.
Cabinet minister Prakash Pant refuted the allegations that villages around Doon were merged with the DMC against the people’s will. “A notification was issued on the basis of reports based on consultations with the residents of villages.” “It is an opposition party, so it will make allegations,” he said, adding all decisions pertaining to urban local bodies were taken strictly as per the legal criteria. .
Similar notifications for merger of several other villages were issued, he said. “Only those villages or peri urban areas where only 30% farmland is left are being merged with urban local bodies, which is a legally correct decision.” Pant asserted villages with 70% farmland “are not being merged” with urban local bodies.
The minister said plans were underway to provide basic amenities like water supply, sewerage network and solid waste management in villages which would be merged with urban areas. “The decision was prompted by a burgeoning population in peri urban areas and villages owing to the rural-urban migration. Since these areas were not a part of the urban local bodies, the locals were unable to access basic civic amenities.” He added the merger would be completed before the polls early next year.