Odisha HC interim stay on forming Rourkela civic body

The Odisha High Court has ordered an interim stay on the formation of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC).

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha High Court has ordered an interim stay on the formation of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC).

The direction came in response to two separate writ petitions filed by the Jagada and Jhartarang panchayat villagers, who are opposing inclusion of their panchayats in the corporation, petitioners' counsel Naresh Chandra Jena said on Saturday.

Both the villages fall under the purview of Sundargarh district.

He said that the court on Friday issued an interim stay on the November 2014 notification for forming the RMC, with inclusion of the scheduled areas. 

"There cannot be any municipality in any scheduled or tribal-dominated area of the state as per the provisions of the constitution. But the state government had announced the formation of RMC by including the two scheduled areas," said Jena. 

He said the court order has made it clear that there can be no activity on corporation related matter by the state government. 

The villagers has been protesting against the inclusion, stating that the inclusion of these two panchayats also violated the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act under which the state government has to take the consent of the people of the village and the Gram Sabha. 

Besides, it would also violate the Forest Rights Act (FRA) as neither the villagers of these two panchayats and nor their Gram Sabha would become the owners of common property resources under the FRA, if they were to be included in the corporation, said Jena. 

Biramitrapur MLA George Tirkey, who is spearheading the agitation of tribals under the banner of Sundargarh Adivasi Mulabasi Bachao Sangha (SAMBS), said the outfit would stage a demonstration in front of Raj Bhawan in Bhubaneswar on April 8 for a permanent solution to the issue. 

Housing and Urban Development Minister Puspendra Singhdeo said the government would file its reply over the issue in the court at the right time and wait for the final decision. 

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