BHUBANESWAR: The poll code has forced Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) to put on hold their proposed drives against unauthorized constructions.
Official sources said the civic authorities had planned to demolish about 10 illegal structures and remove encroachments from 15 government sites between March 15 and May 31. "We apprehend the encroachers on whom eviction and demolition notices have been served may get stay orders from courts, citing the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission," said a BDA officer.
Krishan Kumar, who is both BDA vice-chairman and BMC commissioner, said the EC guidelines stop them from going ahead with demolition and eviction drives. "Though we cannot execute major demolition drives, we will keep a strict vigil on encroachers and prevent them from carrying out illegal constructions," Kumar told TOI.
However, the enforcement squads of BDA or BMC may not get the required assistance from police during the poll season. Commissioner of police R P Sharma said it would be difficult to deploy police personnel for BMC and BDA jobs because of their hectic schedule. "Our priority is to maintain law and order in the run-up to the twin elections. We cannot spare our personnel for any other work," he said, adding, "We will request the civic authorities to postpone their drives.".
BDA authorities said they would check unauthorized constructions with the help of Odisha State Striking Force (OSSF) personnel. Though BDA has a 10-member OSSF, which comprises retired armed personnel, to assist its enforcement squad, they do not enjoy policing powers. "We always need the help of police to prevent any untoward incident. Many demolition drives were stalled in the past because of lack of police force," the BDA officer added.