BHUBANESWAR: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation's decision to include 21 gram panchayats (GP) in its jurisdiction has not gone down well with people of five of those GPs.
Nearly 40,000 people in 28 villages in Barimunda, Kalyanpur, Dadha, Raghunathpur and Kalarahanga panchayat areas in Bhubaneswar North assembly constituency do not want the BMC to look after them, as they feel the civic body has failed to deliver civic amenities to its existing 60 wards.
The BMC, in its recent council meeting, passed a resolution to annex 21 GPs along with two revenue villages to reach the one million-population mark. It will fetch more central aid for different projects.
"We do not oppose urbanization. But we do not trust the service of BMC, whose performance is very poor in the city. Once included in BMC's jurisdiction, we will have to pay more taxes for different facilities," said zila parishad member Basanti Patra. "We have written to the housing and urban development department to scrap the proposal," she said.
"Our villages are getting ample funds and people here enjoy very good facilities under various rural schemes. It will not benefit us if the villages go under BMC jurisdiction," said Subash Patra, another villager.
Bhubaneswar North MLA Bhagirathi Badajena too has thrown his support behind the villagers. "I do not see anything wrong in the contention of villagers. Their apprehension is justified as BMC has failed to provide basic amenities to people in many wards in the city. If BMC pledges to provide the best service, then it's okay," Badajena told TOI.
At present, the city has 60 wards comprising 46 revenue villages with a population of around 8.37 lakh. The BMC area is spread over 135 sqkm, sources said.
Reacting to the development, city mayor A N Jena said, "Population yardstick of a city plays an important role in getting financial assistance from the Centre. If the population here exceeds 10 lakh, the city would be entitled to draw more funds. The BMC has been providing good services to the citizens and will continue to do so in future."
"We want to urbanize the city outskirts that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. We need to regulate the unplanned and chaotic development outside the BMC area," he added.
The city's population has increased by 1.90 lakh in the last 10 years when the state's population increased from 3.68 crore in 2001 to 4.19 crore at present. The city's population was 6.47 lakh in 2001.
The 2011 Census figures recently belied public perception that Bhubaneswar has 10 lakh plus population. Earlier, several projections had put it over 12 lakh.