GUWAHATI, Jan 28 – Raising objection on the State government’s preparations of delimitation of GMC wards from 60 to 31, the Mahanagar Unnayan Samity, Guwahati has termed the process illegal as the number of wards cannot be reduced in the absence of an elected body of the corporation, as per the GMC Act 1971.
The Samity fighting for various civic issues concerning Guwahati is also considering an option to fight a legal battle on the issue, if the government proceeds with its plan to hold GMC elections in 31 wards instead of 60 wards.
Though the GMC elections have not been notified yet, the State Election Commission announced a couple of days back that the Corporation’s election would be held before the onset of monsoons this year.
It may be noted here that the last GMC elections were held in the city in 2003 and the elected council of the civic body stands dissolved since May, 2008.
“It is clearly mentioned in the clause Nos. 43 and 44 of the GMC Act that the delimitation work has to be carried out in consultation with the elected body. But since the civic body has been functioning without a councillors’ body since past five years, the decision to reduce the number of wards cannot be taken arbitrarily by the government,” Subodh Sarma, president of the Samity told The Assam Tribune.
“A Special Leave Petition on various issues of Guwahati city, has been filed in the Supreme Court of India (SLP(C) 17572/2012 Aparajita Sarma Vs Union of India and others) in which fresh affidavit has been sought from the petitioner by the court. We would include the issue of ward delimitation in the petition if required,” he added.
Sarma further alleged that move to reduce the wards is a ploy to organize the ‘pocket votes’ of the ruling Congress, and that the exercise is entirely a political move rather than a civic reform.
“Logically, with the population growth and expansion of the city, the number of wards should be increased for better administration. Reducing the number of wards would defeat the basic purpose of decentralization of power to grassroots level,” he added.
The Samity has been opposing the government’s move to delimit the wards since 2009 and various memorandums on the issue have been submitted to the ministers and officials concerned.