Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 7:
The Odisha government has tentatively decided to create a new cadre for administration and other needs of the urban local bodies (ULBs) in the state from the current fiscal year.
While hectic exercise is on at the bureaucratic level to determine the shape and size of the new cadre, the Finance department has given its approval to the draft proposal.
With the creation of the new cadre which the Urban Development department plans to put in place from the current fiscal, state government employees will no longer work in ULBs in Odisha.
The shape of the new cadre which will be called the ‘urban cadre’ has been finalized, sources close to the development said. The new cadre will have 3,213 posts under it, they added.
Keeping in mind the nature of services associated with municipal bodies, the cadre has been divided into eight categories. ‘Odisha Municipal Administration Service’ is the topmost among the eight categories. The other categories are ‘Odisha Municipal Engineering Service’, ‘Odisha Municipal Planning Service’, ‘Odisha Municipal Health Service’, ‘Odisha Municipal Community Development Service’, Odisha Municipal Ministerial Service’ and ‘Odisha Municipal e-governance Service’. However, there is a proposal to outsource the ‘Odisha Municipal e-governance Service’. Candidates selected for ‘urban cadre’ will not be considered as employees of the state government.
Presently, there are five municipal corporations, 45 municipalities and 61 Notified Area Councils (NACs) in the state.
Urban cadre officials will be posted in ULBs taking into consideration their population.
Towns with ULBs in the state have been split into eight categories on the basis of population. The first category is for cities with a population count of more than 10 lakh. Only Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation falls under this type.
Under the second category come towns with population ranging from six lakh to 9, 99,000. Cuttack is the only city which falls in this category.
The third category towns are those with population ranging from three lakh to 5, 99,000. Municipal corporations of Sambalpur, Brahmapur and Rourkela come under this category.
The fourth category has a population range of one lakh to 2, 99,000. Four municipalities are coming under this category.
The fifth category is municipalities with population ranging from 50,000 to 99,999. There are 14 municipalities under this category.
The sixth category is towns with population ranging from 25,000 to 49,999. There are 27 municipalities coming under this category.
Under the seventh category come towns having a population ranging from 10,000 to 24,999. Six municipalities and 56 NACs come under this category.
The last and eighth category of towns is those having a population below 10,000. Under this category there are five NACs.
The proposal for creation of an ‘urban cadre’ moved by the department of Urban Development department has been approved by the Finance department.
The proposal was later sent to the Law department for evaluation., which has raised an objections on a major issue. How, it wondered, can vacancies in all municipal bodies be filled up from a single cadre when municipal bodies in the state have been created through two different acts – municipal corporations through Odisha Municipal Corporation Act 2003 and other municipal bodies through Odisha Municipality Act 1950. The Law department has returned to the Urban Development department with this observation.
A senior official of the Urban Development said that a joint meeting with the Law department will be held very soon to sort out the legal issues.
Another issue of the new ‘urban cadre’ that remains unresolved is which authority will take up the responsibility of recruiting candidates for appointments under this cadre.
Dispute prevails over whether the recruitment will be made through OPSC or through a specially constituted selection board by the Urban Development department.
According to the provisions of the law, OPSC can be vested with the additional responsibility by making amendments to the OPSC Act. In Karnataka, Kerala and some other states, similar arrangements have been made.
Once the two issues are resolved, the final proposal will be placed before the Cabinet for approval. Sources informed that after completion of all processes in this connection, the new cadre will be formed this fiscal.