Kozhikode

Municipality status gives worries as well

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People stand to lose several benefits

The five panchayats which were upgraded as municipalities in Kozhikode district are in the thick of campaign for their first ever election in the new status.

However, there are apprehensions among the public about the consequences the new status may bring and disagreements among political parties on the criteria used for selecting the panchayats for the new status.

Mukkam, Koduvally, Ramanattukara, Feroke, and Payyoli are the five panchayats recently upgraded as municipalities in the district. None of these local bodies had any increase in the number of voters after the new status. Only that the number of municipal divisions has been increased by splitting the earlier wards.

For example, Mukkam had only 21 wards when it was a panchayat, which has now been raised to 33 municipal divisions.

If a panchayat ward earlier had 25,00 voters on an average, it has come down to 800 to 1,000 now.

With the panchayats’s new status as municipalities, the people stand to lose several benefits they had earlier enjoyed, besides having to pay an amplified amount of tax. There is also no considerable rise in the revenue for the local bodies in their new status.

According Mukkam Balakrishnan, municipal election committee chairman of the Left Democratic Front in Mukkam municipality, the CPI(M) had strongly opposed the move to upgrade the panchayat.

The party had even moved the court seeking a reconsideration of the decision.

“What is the point in merely getting a new status for the local body without any benefits for its people,” asks Mr. Balakrishnan. The increased taxes and the loss of several Central government schemes meant for the villages would be a serious backlash for the new municipalities, he says.

P.T.A. Rahim, MLA, who heads the National Secular Conference (NSC), also is critical of the decision to upgrade those panchayats with limited resources and population.

Priority

According to Mr. Rahim, instead of Koduvally and Mukkam, panchayats like Kunnamangalam and Olavanna which have much greater revenue and resources should have been given priority in the district. “The status of municipality will only make life harder for the people in some of the newly upgraded local bodies,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 5:56:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/municipality-status-gives-worries-as-well/article7816606.ece

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