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Bengal governor seeks details on bifurcation of Howrah civic body

 
HMC

Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): While the State Election Commission (SEC) has gone ahead and declared the date for polls Kolkata Municipal Corporation wards on Thursday, the fate of elections for Howrah Municipal Corporation still hangs fire.

The West Bengal government had initially pressed for simultaneous elections in both Kolkata and Howrah municipal corporations and even written to the SEC regarding this.

But the problem cropped up after the West Bengal assembly amended the Howrah Municipal Corporation Act to separate Bally Municipality, which was a part of the corporation since 2015 just a few weeks back.

To become effective, the bill needed the West Bengal governor to give his consent through his signature. But the governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has not yet  put in his signature on it.

In fact, on Wednesday the governor tweeted: “As regards Howrah Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 @MamataOfficial WB  Governor Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar has sought further details for consideration of the same under Article 200 of the Constitution.”

In his letter to the state government, the governor has written with concerns over certain points.

The letter said: “The input made available by the State Government on 23.11.2021 with respect to the issues flagged from this end has been perused. The Howrah Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks amendment in Section 5 of the Howrah Municipal Corporation Act, 1980.

2. Towards this a decision was taken by the Cabinet on 21 January, 2021 to exclude the areas of the erstwhile Bally Municipality from the jurisdiction of Howrah Municipal Corporation with a view to fulfilling the expectations and aspirations of the people of Bally in terms of provisions of sub-section (1) read with sub-section (2) and read with sub-section (3) of section 219 of the Howrah Municipal Corporation Act, 1980 and simultaneously constitution of a new Municipality covering the areas of erstwhile Bally Municipality in terms of provisions of section 3 of the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993.

The record made available indicates that 18 objections were received.  The SDO, Sadar, Howrah, by notice dated 19.7.2021 indicated to the objectors that they may appear before him for a hearing on 30.7.2021 at specified time.  All these notices carry the following assertion:-

“Whereas you have placed a proposal to the commissioner, Howrah Municipal Corporation for exclusion of area of erstwhile Bally Municipality from the jurisdiction of Howrah municipal corporation on the gazette notification.”