Updated: January 4, 2022 12:17:50 pm
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar has written to Cooperation Minister Balasaheb Patil demanding that the mandatory election observers be done away with for co-operative housing societies having fewer than 250 members, saying the fee they charge is exorbitant.
“The cooperation department has directed that all cooperative housing societies will have to appoint an election observer from a panel of 340 government-approved persons for conducting elections. For the last few years, I have been trying to bring to the government’s notice that the cost of such elections must not be an additional burden on the housing societies, especially the smaller ones,” Shelar said.
The former minister said the previous government had assured that “such unjust and exorbitant expenses” would not be imposed on the cooperative housing societies, 50,000 of which are in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and have fewer than 250 members each.
Citing an example from his Bandra West constituency, Shelar said, “In the polls to the 40-member Bandra Co-operative Housing Society, the government-approved election observer charged Rs 21,000. This fee included costs of two election assistants—one to conduct elections and another to count votes—and Rs 3,000 as the car fare and for other expenses. The society had to pay Rs 21,000 for the election that got over in just 10 minutes.”
The election observer must not be made mandatory for small co-operative housing societies with fewer than 250 members, Shelar wrote, especially in view of the financial crisis caused by the Covid pandemic.
The MLA also urged the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to return to the societies all the fees levied by election observers in the last three months.
A cooperation department official acknowledged receiving Shelar’s letter.