Former ward councillors divided over draft delimitation report

Some unhappy with population size difference, other says minor deviation expected

September 18, 2022 12:43 am | Updated 12:43 am IST - New Delhi

The three-member delimitation committee is headed by State Election Commissioner Vijay Dev.

The three-member delimitation committee is headed by State Election Commissioner Vijay Dev. | Photo Credit: File photo

The draft report on the delimitation of municipal wards in the Capital is out for public suggestions and objections but former councillors remain divided over the geographical changes suggested in the report.

Former Khajoori Khas ward councillor Manoj Tyagi (AAP) said the report has been executed without “any physical exercise”. He said the total population in some wards does not fit into the bracket of the average population, which, according to sources, varies between 50,000 to 70,000 per ward.

The former councillor cited the example of Mayur Vihar Phase-I ward where the total population stands at 93,381, while the total population of Chandni Chowk ward is 35,509.

According to an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on July 22, which includes the principle and guidance for the delimitation exercise, the average population may not be maintained throughout and a deviation of plus or minus 10% of the area’s average population may be acceptable.

However, many former councillors and senior leaders such as Congress’s Chattar Singh have highlighted that the deviation exceeds the limit in certain wards.

“They have created new wards by merging some smaller ones and some boundaries make it unclear as to which ward a street will fall under. This will lead to confusion in terms of providing civic amenities. This entire exercise seems to be an eyewash since it has been done on-table without any physical verification,” said Mr. Tyagi.

According to the draft delimitation order, a total of 22 wards have been reduced across 23 Assembly constituencies – the likes of Rohini, Matiala and Burari – to bring the number down to 250, as specified in the MHA order.

Some former councillors like BJP’s Jai Prakash (Sadar Bazar ward) are, however, content with the report. “A minor deviation in the average population is expected,” he said.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said there are many “errors” in the draft report that are being examined by him and his party members. Earlier, senior AAP leader Gopal Rai had told agencies that the exercise has been done in an “illogical manner”.

The delimitation of municipal wards in the Capital has been carried out based on figures from the 2011 Census. The three-member delimitation committee, which was constituted on July 8, is chaired by Vijay Dev, the State Election Commissioner. The committee is expected to submit its report within four months from the date of its constitution.

Residents’ feedback

Suggestions and objections to the draft report have started to trickle in, mostly from residents who have objected to redrawn boundaries across wards in multiple Assembly constituencies, according to said sources familiar with the development.

The sources said a physical verification will be conducted based on the newly updated maps of each ward. However, this will “depend” on whether the suggestions and objections are incorporated in the final report.

The sources added that suggestions and objections from political parties are yet to arrive and the delimitation committee will work on the feedback received from the public starting Monday.

“We will have to review the feedback and see whether changes have to be made based on this. However, if there is no change, then the requirement of a physical verification exercise is not necessary and we can go ahead with the final proposal,” said a source.

Suggestions and objections to the draft report can be filed till October 3, 5 p.m.

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