HC Extends Restraining Order On Creation Of New Districts In Odisha

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has extended the order, retraining the Odisha government from passing any final order on creation of new districts without taking its permission, by another three weeks.

The two-judge bench of acting Chief Justice BR Sarangi and Justice MS Raman extended the restriction after additional government advocate D K Mohanty sought time to file a counter affidavit in compliance with the interim order issued on December 21, 2023, and provide information with regard to re-organisation of district. “Put up this matter after three weeks. Interim order passed earlier shall continue till the next date,” they said on Monday.

While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), the court had earlier rapped that the state government for creating new districts without any guidelines and principles. It observed that with regard to the power of formation of new districts, except the report of the Justice Raj Kishore Das Committee (district reorganization committee), 1975 and the Cabinet Sub-Committee Report of 1991, nothing is made available or placed on record as to how to re-organise a district.

The HC, however, allowed the government to continue the process of reorganisation if it wants.

The order was seen as a setback to the government’s move to carve a new district of Padampur from Bargarh. In February, 2023, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that Padampur will get district status within a year. “I announced about Padmapur district last December. This must be done within one year,” he had said. His party, BJD, had assured to create Padampur district in the run-up to the byelection there in December last year. Last month, the government had set the ball rolling with an official team headed by revenue divisional commissioner of northern division scouting few sites for construction of district headquarters.

While order stopped the government from declaring Padampur as a separate district, Naveen on December 29, 2023, approved the proposal for the creation of a new post of ADM Padampur in Bargarh district and also appointed Chavan Kunal Motiram, an IAS officer of 2020 batch, to the post.

Apart from Padampur, people of Kantabanji, Titilagarh, Athagarh, Dharmagarh and some other place have also been demanding separate districts. The government had recently informed the Assembly that demands for 25 new districts have been received from different regions of the state.

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