Preparations begin for much-delayed coop polls in Odisha

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 25:

After issuing the formal notification, the Odisha government has initiated the preparation process for the cooperative societies’ election in the state, to be held in January 2015.

However, the date of election is yet to be fixed.

Krushna Gopal Mohapatra, the cooperative election commissioner, would announce the election dates soon, said a senior official, who attended a meeting called by Cooperation minister Dr Damodar Rout for preparation of the cooperative polls in the state.

The government has been deferring the polls repeatedly over the last 18 months. Last month, the government, through an ordinance, had deferred the election by another six months ending January 2015.

The elections were last held in 2007 after which political appointees have been heading the cooperative bodies.

On October 17, the state government had issued a notification to hold the elections in nearly 10,600 cooperative societies (primary, central and apex) in Odisha.

“The state government do hereby call upon cooperative societies to elect members of the committee of the societies registered and functioning in the state in accordance with the provisions of the Odisha Cooperative Societies Act, 1962,” said the notification.

In conformity with the 97th Constitution Amendment Act, 2011, the state government amended the Orissa Cooperative Societies Act, 1962, in December 2012, which came into effect from January 30, 2013.

The Amendment Act contains a transitory provision under section 17 providing for a time period of six months from the date of commencement of the Amendment Act within which the election to all Co-operative Societies shall be held.

Later in August, 2013, the Cabinet decided to postpone the election to co-operative bodies by a year, precisely on the ground that the rules are yet to be finalised. While the government was supposed to hold polls for co-operatives by July 31, it did not adhere to the deadline on the ground that the nod of the apex court is required for the election.

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