Sambalpur gets corporation status

In a bid to soften the agitation over the demand for a permanent bench of the High Court in Western Odisha districts, the State Government on Tuesday decided to accord corporation status to Sambalpur municipality.

The decision was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The major city of Western Odisha would become the fourth municipal corporation of the State after Bhubnaeswar, Cuttack and Berhampur. Finance Minister Prasanna Kumar Acharya, who was present at the meeting, said  the Chief Minister has directed the officials of the Urban Development department to expedite the process. This was a long-standing demand of the people of Sambalpur, he said.

However, there were mixed reactions from the political parties. While the BJP welcomed the decision, the Congress described it as a move to placate the people of Sambalpur ahead of the urban local body (ULB) polls likely to be held there in December.

The corporation will include Burla and Hirakud notified area councils (NACs), along with 12 gram panchayats located on the outskirts of Sambalpur. At  least seven gram panchayats of Dhanakauda and five of Maneswar block would come under the corporation with a population of over 3.35 lakh. The process for converting Sambalpur municipality to a corporation will be started in October.

BJP MLA from Sambalpur Jaynarayan Mishra welcomed the decision. But he demanded that the city be included under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The decision is welcome, but will not be of much help unless the city is included under the JNNURM.

Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh criticised the State Government for playing vote bank politics. The Government should stop playing tricks on the people of Sambalpur, he said.


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