No trace of ward committees almost a year after GHMC polls

Guidelines for their constitution as per the new amendments are awaited, say officials

Almost a year after GHMC elections, and nine months after the first meeting of the civic body’s freshly elected council, ward committees are yet to be constituted.

Ward committees need to be constituted for every division of the corporation under the Section 8-A of the GHMC Act, for effective representation and funding in the spirit of the amendments 73 and 74 of the Constitution of India.

Earlier, as per the Act, each ward committee should be chaired by the corporator of the respective ward/division, and not more than 10 electors representing the civil society from the ward, to be nominated by the civic body.

If the population in a ward is below 10,000, the committee should have four members, with one additional member for every 4,000 population or part thereof.

Thus, for 150 wards in GHMC, the number of ward members should not exceed 1,500. However, after promulgation of amendments to the GHMC Act last year, the number of ward committees has been increased to four per ward, and the maximum number of members has been enhanced to 25.

Thus, the maximum extent of “citizens’ participation” has been increased tenfold, to 15,000.

The members should consist of residents from the ward and from among the residents, representatives of the welfare associations, community-based organisations and other such groups and individuals by rotation annually.

They shall be entrusted with the responsibility to take up issues pertaining to each of the groups pertaining to the ward. Half the members to be nominated to the ward committees should be women.

The committees are expected to bring forth and monitor the resolution of the civic issues pertaining to sanitation, maintenance, distribution of water supply, working of street lights, road repairs, maintenance of markets, parks, and playgrounds, implementation of poverty alleviation programmes, and the functioning of schools, health centres and such facilities.

They are endowed with the responsibility also to facilitate tax collection, prepare list of beneficiaries for various schemes and benefits, prepare annual ward development plan, map the ward’s infrastructure, prepare inventory of municipal assets, and assist in the implementation of all government schemes.

Officials from GHMC informed that the committees will be constituted as soon as the government issues orders for the same. Guidelines for their constitution as per the new amendments are awaited, they said.

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