The Bengal government is all set to promulgate an ordinance for appointment of an administrator at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation as the existing law doesn’t provide for such a mechanism at the civic body in the state capital.
The decision was taken following a realisation that because of the lockdown, it was impossible to hold polls to the civic body before May 8 when the five-year-term of the current board would expire.
“Primarily, no clause was found in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Act, 1980, to appoint an administrator. A file has been moved to the advocate general for a way out. The state government would act as per the advice of the advocate general,” said a senior state government official.
Sources said it was primarily decided that elections to the CMC would be conducted on April 19 and the state election commission had started proceedings accordingly. “But now, it appears that the government as well as the election commission would not be able to hold the CMC polls before the tenure of the existing board expires. Even if the lockdown is completely lifted on April 15, there would not be enough time to hold the polls before May 8,” said another official.
The lockdown and the spread of the novel coronavirus made fate of 100-odd other civic bodies in Bengal also uncertain. Their tenure had already expired or will be over in May.
“We don’t know when the social distancing advisory would be lifted completely. It may be dragged beyond May as the situation is not expected to improve overnight. Until the social distancing advisory is lifted completely, it is not possible to hold polls,” said a source.
If the polls could not be held by first week of June, then it will almost be impossible to conduct the elections in the following months. The monsoon would enter Bengal in June, following which the festive season would start in the state.