Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Jul 31:
A day after lawyers in Odisha’s Cuttack city boycotted court proceedings on the issue, representatives of the High Court Bar Association and six other associations on Thursday met state chief secretary to press their demands for inclusion of the Millennium City in the Smart City scheme.
The lawyers met Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati on Thursday afternoon at the state secretariat. Pati assured the lawyers that the government would write to Centre afresh making a case for Cuttack city to be included in the scheme.
“See the letter… We have included Cuttack in the Smart City list. We have requested Centre to consider Cuttack,” Pati told the delegation of lawyers yesterday.
Along with the lawyers, Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debasish Samantaray, Choudwar-Cuttack MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal, CMC Mayor Anita Behera, Deputy Mayor Ajay Barik, Urban Development department secretary and Law department secretary also accompanied the delegation.
Cuttack is a historic city and is rich in cultural and traditional heritage. It is the old capital of the state. It is unjust to compare it with newly formed cities. So, Cuttack city should be included as the forerunner in the list of Smart Cities in the state proposed to the Centre. As an alternative, Cuttack-Bhubaneswar should be considered as Twin City and accordingly proposed to the Centre, the lawyers opined.
“There would be no obstacle in the development of Cuttack city and developmental activities would be undertaken on a priority basis. After the Cuttack Municipal Corporation approves Twin City proposal in its Council meeting, we would take immediate steps to implement it,” Pati added.
“The Smart City guidelines are different for different states. Based on the parameters, the list was prepared and sent to the Centre. Due to the varying parameters, Durgapur has made it to the list instead of Kolkata in West Bengal and Tinsukia instead of Guwahati in Assam. We would give emphasis on Cuttack and write to Centre again,” an official said.
However, it was unclear whether the state government would consider Cuttack as part of Twin City or as a separate city while recommending its inclusion in the Smart City list.
Among others, the members of the delegation who met the chief secretary were: Ahsok Kumar Mohapatra, President High Court Bar Association, Bijay Kumar Ragada, General Secretary, Kshetramohan Dhal, Secretary, Cuttack Bar Association, Bikash Ranjan Biswal, Secretary, Criminal Courts Bar Association, Asim Amitabh Das, Bar Council member, Orupananda Das, Nityananda Beuria and Subhranshu Sekhar Mohanty.
Notably, lawyers of High Court Bar Association and lower courts on Wednesday boycotted court proceedings and staged a protest demanding inclusion of Cuttack in the Smart City scheme. Besides, the Congress also staged an agitation and submitted a memorandum to the Collector urging the administration to take adequate steps for inclusion of the historic city in the scheme.