In a move that would impact 83,000 residential societies across the state, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday postponed cooperative housing society elections for the fifth consecutive time. Elections have now been deferred till September 17.
Citing the ongoing pandemic and concerns over the high case load, a cooperatives department order argued that it would not be appropriate to hold elections at this stage.
The department notification further stated that the current atmosphere was not conducive to ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.
Officials said that another postponement of the election process was on the cards. About 80 per cent of these housing societies are situated in the Mumbai region, which is the worst hit in India by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, sources said this may impact the repair and maintenance works and redevelopments plans in some of the societies.
On May 31, the department had similarly cited the Covid-19 situation to postpone elections by a month.
On March 13, days before the lockdown was imposed, the government has deferred elections by a couple of months on the ground that revised rules and regulations for holding elections were yet to be framed.
Since March 2019, when a new section was introduced in the Maharashtra Cooperatives Societies Act (1960), allowing cooperative societies with less than 250 members to conduct elections independently, this is the now the fifth occasion when the elections have been postponed.
The deadline was initially extended to December 2019 and then to February 2020. The deadline for holding annual general body meeting and for submission of audit reports by societies, which is in August, may be extended as well.
Meanwhile, the government has brought the Covid-19 control room on the sixth floor at Mantralaya under the direct control of the Chief Minister’s Office. Contending that the control room will be central to decisions pertaining to health, economy, education, and industries in Mission Begin Again phase, the government’s orders state that the control room will now function as an integral part of the CMO.
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