Dibrugarh municipal board Soma
Soma Chakraborty , the outgoing chairman of Dibrugarh Municipal Board. Image credit - Northeast Now

The BJP-led Dibrugarh Municipal Board (DMB), which faced a probe following allegations of financial irregularities, was dissolved on Monday.

The civic body was dissolved with immediate effect through a notification (vide No. UDD(M)/15 1/2009/358) issued on Monday by the principal secretary to urban development department (UDD) of the Assam government.

The step has been taken following the enquiry of the Dibrugarh deputy commissioner and the report of the director of the municipal administration, Assam regarding allegations against the DMB.

There are charges of financial misappropriation, improper maintenance of main cash book and log books for office vehicles and improper maintenance of records of the assets of DMB.

Also read: Failed to keep town clean: Dibrugarh Municipal Board ward commissioner resigns

There are also charges of irregularities in leasing out of municipal parking places and advertisements and allotment of markets, parking and hoardings through illegal tendering process.

As per the order, the reply of the chairperson of Dibrugarh Municipal Board regarding the irregularities was “not found satisfactory”.

As mentioned in the order signed by the principal secretary, Niraj Verma, the chairperson of DMB, Soma Chakraborty appeared in person and a statement on oath was taken by the principal secretary to the UDD on November 4 where she admitted that the charges were true.

Also read: Assam: Dibrugarh Municipal Board riddled with irregularities and corruption

The government observed that the DMB persistently failed to perform its duties and responsibilities to the satisfaction of all concerned.

The Assam government in exercise of its power under section 298 of the Assam Municipal Act, 1956 dissolved the DMB with immediate effect and directed the deputy commissioner of Dibrugarh to take the charge of the municipal board immediately.

It may me mentioned that since her appointment as the chairperson of the BJP-led Dibrugarh Municipal Board on April 24, 2017, Soma Chakraborty has been facing rebellion from the ward commissioners of her own party.

On October 31, 2018, 10 BJP ward commissioners of the 22-member Dibrugarh Muncipal Board had brought ‘no-confidence’ motion against Chakraborty.

The ‘no-confidence’ motion was supported by the five Congress ward commissioners and the sole Independent member.

Though Chakraborty was not present during the floor test, the rebel ward commissioners took a resolution removing her from the post of chairperson with immediate effect.

Chakraborty, who termed her removal as arbitrary and illegal, filed a writ petition (WP (C) 7684/2018) at Gauhati High Court challenging her removal from the post of chairperson.

She got a breather from the Gauhati High Court as it directed the rebel members not to proceed with the resolution to axe her from the chairperson’s post.

The rebel ward commissioners alleged that since her appointment as chairperson, Chakraborty had been acting in an autocratic manner and failed to convene a single official board meeting as per provision of the Assam Municipality Act, 1956.

Other allegations against Chakraborty include taking financial decisions without consulting the members, failure to provide financial details of revenue and expenditure, failure to take corrective measures to curb corruption in departments like hoardings and sanitary.

Allotment of markets without following proper norms of tendering, failure to implement schemes and failure to keep the town clean were other allegations against Chakraborty.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com