Monday, September 5, 2011

[ZESTCaste] All eyes on reservation of Corpn. wards

COIMBATORE, September 5, 2011
All eyes on reservation of Corpn. wards
Karthik Madhavan

With the Coimbatore Corporation accepting the delimitation of wards,
the question now on everybody's, particularly Councillors', mind is
how the reservation exercise will be carried out.

Reservation is earmarking 33 per cent of a local body's wards for
women, 18 per cent for the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe and 33
per cent of the 18 for women from the SC and ST. In Coimbatore's case,
of the 100 new wards, 33 will be reserved for women, 18 for the SC/ST
and six of the 18 for SC/ST women.

The Corporation at present has 72 wards. Forty-eight of those have
been left undisturbed in the delimitation exercise. The rest 24 have
been rearranged into 12 wards.

In short, the existing 72 wards will constitute only 60 wards in the
new set-up. The new Corporation will get the remaining 40 from the 11
local bodies after annexure.

Councillors have divergent views on how the reservation is to be
carried out. One set of councillors say the existing reservation
pattern should continue in the 48 wards that have not been disturbed.

Advocating such an approach, K. Purushothaman, Ward 61 Councillor,
says by adopting the existing reservation system in the 48 wards, the
Corporation will not violate the government's policy of continuing
with a reservation pattern for 10 years. Only in 2006 was the
decennial exercise carried out.

The next reservation exercise ought to be only in 2016. The
Corporation will be able to stick to this if it allows the present
system to continue in the 48 wards.

He also says if the Corporation were to carry out reservation by
including the 48 wards, councillors like him will stand to lose
because only in 2006, the status of his ward got changed from a
reserved ward to a general ward.

As for the rearranged 12 wards and the 40 wards from the to-be annexed
local bodies, he suggests the Corporation follow the norms after
discounting the reservation carried out in the 48 wards.

By doing so, the two reservation exercises will be independent of the
other and ensure spread of reserved wards across the new Corporation.
Else, there is every chance of all the reserved wards getting
concentrated in the existing Corporation area. Mr. Purushothaman says
such a concentration is very likely because the population is more in
the city than in the to-be annexed areas.

There are other councillors who do not subscribe to this view, though.
They want the Corporation officials to carry out the delimitation
exercise taking the 100 wards as a unit.

C. Padmanabhan, Ward 3 Councillor, says the Corporation that has 2001
population data at its disposal should classify it ward-wise and
reserve wards based on the numbers. Starting in descending order with
the wards that have a higher number of women, the Corporation should
reserve 33 wards for women, 18 for SC/ST members and six of the 18 for
women from the two communities.

"It is a straight, simple math, and let not the officials go in for
complicated methods to keep a few people happy," is his refrain. P.
Rajkumar, Ward 71 Councillors is also of the same view.

V.N. Udayakumar, Ward 24 Councillor, says the officials should follow
the rules, else the party will move the court.

M.S. Velmurugan, Ward 57 Councillor, differs from the above two
approaches, though. He says the reservation policy is flawed as the
Corporation officials have taken 1996 population figures for
delimitation exercise and 2001 population figures for reservation.

He wants the officials to follow either 1996 or 2001 figures for both
delimitation and reservation.


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