Coimbatore

All eyes on reservation of Corpn. wards

With the Coimbatore Corporation accepting the delimitation of wards, the question now on everybody's, particularly Councillors', mind is how the reservation exercise will be carried out.

Reservation is earmarking 33 per cent of a local body's wards for women, 18 per cent for the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe and 33 per cent of the 18 for women from the SC and ST. In Coimbatore's case, of the 100 new wards, 33 will be reserved for women, 18 for the SC/ST and six of the 18 for SC/ST women.

The Corporation at present has 72 wards. Forty-eight of those have been left undisturbed in the delimitation exercise. The rest 24 have been rearranged into 12 wards.

In short, the existing 72 wards will constitute only 60 wards in the new set-up. The new Corporation will get the remaining 40 from the 11 local bodies after annexure.

Councillors have divergent views on how the reservation is to be carried out. One set of councillors say the existing reservation pattern should continue in the 48 wards that have not been disturbed.

Advocating such an approach, K. Purushothaman, Ward 61 Councillor, says by adopting the existing reservation system in the 48 wards, the Corporation will not violate the government's policy of continuing with a reservation pattern for 10 years. Only in 2006 was the decennial exercise carried out.

The next reservation exercise ought to be only in 2016. The Corporation will be able to stick to this if it allows the present system to continue in the 48 wards.

He also says if the Corporation were to carry out reservation by including the 48 wards, councillors like him will stand to lose because only in 2006, the status of his ward got changed from a reserved ward to a general ward.

As for the rearranged 12 wards and the 40 wards from the to-be annexed local bodies, he suggests the Corporation follow the norms after discounting the reservation carried out in the 48 wards.

By doing so, the two reservation exercises will be independent of the other and ensure spread of reserved wards across the new Corporation. Else, there is every chance of all the reserved wards getting concentrated in the existing Corporation area. Mr. Purushothaman says such a concentration is very likely because the population is more in the city than in the to-be annexed areas.

There are other councillors who do not subscribe to this view, though. They want the Corporation officials to carry out the delimitation exercise taking the 100 wards as a unit.

C. Padmanabhan, Ward 3 Councillor, says the Corporation that has 2001 population data at its disposal should classify it ward-wise and reserve wards based on the numbers. Starting in descending order with the wards that have a higher number of women, the Corporation should reserve 33 wards for women, 18 for SC/ST members and six of the 18 for women from the two communities.

“It is a straight, simple math, and let not the officials go in for complicated methods to keep a few people happy,” is his refrain. P. Rajkumar, Ward 71 Councillors is also of the same view.

V.N. Udayakumar, Ward 24 Councillor, says the officials should follow the rules, else the party will move the court.

M.S. Velmurugan, Ward 57 Councillor, differs from the above two approaches, though. He says the reservation policy is flawed as the Corporation officials have taken 1996 population figures for delimitation exercise and 2001 population figures for reservation.

He wants the officials to follow either 1996 or 2001 figures for both delimitation and reservation.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:17:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/all-eyes-on-reservation-of-corpn-wards/article2425935.ece

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