Bhubaneswar, Aug. 18: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to defer the move to bring 21 gram panchayats and two revenue villages under the civic body’s fold in the wake of mounting opposition.
On July 30, the BMC council had proposed to bring the new areas within its jurisdiction. “The council only passed a resolution in the form of a proposal. We have decided to defer the proposal for the time being,’’ said mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.
Representatives of five gram panchayats that fall in Ekamra Bhubaneswar Assembly constituency yesterday opposed the proposal saying this would affect the livelihoods of a number of people. They voiced their opposition at a meeting held near Uttara Chhak on the city outskirts.
“In gram panchayats such as Sishupalgarh, Tikarpada, Dhauli, Itipur and Basuaghai, nearly 60 per cent inhabitants depend on agriculture for livelihood and supply vegetables to the capital city. If these areas come under the limits of the civic body, the resultant urbanisation will have an adverse impact on farmers,” said zilla parishad member Sangram Keshari Paikray.
Paikray said at present, the gram panchayats were getting sufficient funds from the rural development department, Gopabandhu Gramin Yojana and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard). The residents of these areas are apprehensive that the fund flow might go down if they come under the BMC fold.
S.N. Dhar, a representative of Gangotrinagar, said: “The remaining agricultural land on the city outskirts would be lost to housing projects once these come within the ambit of the BMC. The civic authorities are not even able to ensure basic amenities to its existing area. How can we be sure whether they can deliver the same in the new zones?”
Siba Chhotray, a resident of Naharkanta, said nine villages were made part the new ward following a BMC decision in 1997 and were finally included in the corporation in 2003. “Apart from bad roads, the lack of street lights, dispensaries, playgrounds, community halls, sanitation services and an ill-maintained water supply system continue to plague residents of the area even after a decade of their inclusion within the BMC limits. Residents of Pahala and Johala face a lot of problems because of the water supply system. The groundwater there has a very high iron content,” Chhotray said.