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Odisha govt set to miss July 31 deadline for polls to co-ops

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, June 12:

Even as the deadline for holding of elections to co-operative bodies in the state is inching closer, the Odisha government is yet to frame the rules for the elections.

Interestingly, in August, 2013, the Cabinet had decided to postpone the election to co-operative bodies by a year precisely on the ground that the rules are yet to be finalised. But with just one and a half months remaining for the deadline of July 31, 2014 set by itself, the state government is yet to amend the Co-operative Societies Act to facilitate holding of elections in around 6,000 cooperative bodies, which are presently being run by government representatives.

Prior to the Cabinet decision, the state government had, through an ordinance,, fixed July 31, 2014 as the deadline for the completion of the election process.

Since the rules have not yet been framed for the election, the Cooperation Department has now sought extension of the deadline for election by another one year. The rules would be finalised after the concurrence of the State Cooperative Commission, sources said.

However, Cooperative Election Commissioner RN Senapati saidthe holding of elections depends entirely on the government. “Until the government amends the rules to hold election, I can’t say anything. The approval of government is necessary to hold elections. However, there is still around one and a half months’ time. Let the government decide on it,” said Senapati.

For election to all co-operative societies, the Odisha Co-operative Societies Rules, 1965 and the Odisha Co-operative Societies (Election to the Committees) Rules, 1992 are required to be amended in consultation with the State Co-operative Election Commission.

It is to be noted that the Cabinet had decided to amend the Odisha Cooperative Societies Rules, 1965 and the Odisha Cooperative Societies (Elections to the Committees) Rules, 1992 to extend the time period for holding of elections to cooperative societies by one year.

The Odisha Cooperative Societies Act, 1962 was amended by Odisha Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Act, 2012 to bring it in conformity with the 97th Amendment Act of the Constitution in 2011. In the Amendment Act under Section 17, a time period of six months from the date of the commencement of the Act was provided within which the elections to all cooperative societies would be held .