Updated: June 30, 2021 8:37:55 am
With Maharashtra government postponing all elections until after August 31, in view of the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state, cooperative housing societies in Pune are busy utilising the time in between in conducting training camps for office bearers.
The elections were first set to be held in April but were postponed after the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic hit the city. The housing societies were waiting for the number of cases to drop to conduct their polls but with cases rising again now, and the Delta plus variant emerging as a variant of concern, they will have to wait for at least two more months before they can hold the elections.
Suhas Patwardhan, Chairman of Pune District Cooperative Housing Societies’ Federation, said the body is using the present time window to conduct training camps for office bearers on the proper method to hold the elections.
Keeping in mind the Covid curbs, the camps are being held online.
The district has 18,000 cooperative housing societies but with the amendments in Cooperative Act making elections compulsory only for those with more than 250 members, 17,500 societies have been exempted from holding the polls. Thus, only 500 societies are due for elections for a new executive body.
While rules mandate elections to be held every five years, a number of societies have not held their polls in six to seven years. “Before the start of the second wave, we had begun work to kick off the election process, but by April, everything was brought to a halt,” said Patwardhan.
Elaborating on the training process, he said, “The work of preparation of the voters list and appointment of returning officers has to be done by the executive body. The lists need to be finalised and published,” he said. “A returning officer has to a person who is not going to contest the elections, and should know the way the polls are held,” he pointed out.
Sanjeevan Sangle, chairman of the Moshi Chikali Cooperative Housing Federation, said around four to five per cent of societies in the newly developed area are due for elections. In these new areas, most of the members are not well aware of the laws of cooperative housing societies, he added. “It is important to make issues like maintaining a sinking fund (contingency fund), not taking unilateral decisions etc clear with the officer bearers to ensure the society runs in a smooth manner,” said Sangle whose federation has been holding regular meetings with societies to help the members get acquainted with the laws.
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