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Municipality To Municipal Corporation
As far back as the year 183d, it was realised that municipal work was necessary within the city walls, and it was ordered that the four principal roads should be regularly watered by a newly created municipal agency. The cost was to be met by the levy of a cess from the keepers of the shops. This cess was collected but for a short times, though the work of watering the roads continued and the expenses were borne by the their Baroda state Govt., the responsibility of repairing the existing roads and making new ones was recognised and to defray the cost it was decided to levy dues on certain articles imported and exported. In 1869 and attempt was made to carry on municipal administration through a small committee consisting of different interests. The committee. Consisted of five members and was presided over by a Sudharai Kamdar or Municipal Commissioner, all nominated by the Baroda State Gov. A house tax was introduced and was assessed at Rs.2-8-0 per thousand of the house value, but the tax was soon dropped.
In the year 1872, a Kalambandi was sanctioned empowering the municipality to add to its funds by levying Nazarundas, license fees on new buildings, rents on enclosures of a temporary nature erected on marriage ceremonies and rental for Govt. land occupied for private purposes. In the same year it was recognised that the task for arranging for sweepers for public needs within the city belonged to the municipality.
A memorable advance was made in the development of local self Govt. in Baroda State in the year 1892, when Sudharai Nibandh Municipal Act was passed by his highness Late Shri Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad. It recoginsed for the first time the elective principal in Baroda Municipal Govt. Under this Act, the city was devided into 22 wards, each to elect one member to the Municipal Baroda. Besides the large number of elected members, there were eight ex-officio members, The Sudharai Kamdar, The municipal commissioner being the ex-officio president of the municipality. The whole cost of municipal administration was borne by the Baroda State Govt.
The municipal Act of 1905 not only conferred financial independence on the municipality adding to its importance, as well as responsibilities, duties and powers, but also to a large extent separated the administrative functions from the purely executive. The Municipal Commissioner at once created to be the servant and master of the municipality. The new Act specifically laid down that no stipendiary servant of the municipality can hold office as a councillor, much less as its president. The Suba of the municipality.
The Act of 1905 was based chiefly upon the Bombay District Municipal Act as amended in 1901, altered where necessary to suit local conditions and circumstances. It provided for a Municipal Board consisting of 37 members of whom 25 were elected by the people triennially, 6 were nominated by the Govt. and 6 were ex-officio members of the municipality. The whole municipal administration vested in the corporation, which was in the last instance, responsible to the Govt. for its efficient management of municipal affairs.
Expect in matters, which were specially provided for in the Act itself such no taxation, making or amending rules and regulations for internal and bye-laws for external management, compulsory acquisition of building or land and such other cognate matters pertaining to and requiring help from the Govt., the municipality enjoyed full and independent powers.
In 1928, posts of the president and the municipal commissioner, was separated, the former being held by a nominated non-official and the later by an officer of the state up to the grade of suba. The right of electing its own president was conferred upon the city municipality in 1939 the year when the great visionary Maharaja Sayajirao passed away.
With a view to increasing the efficiency of the municipal administration the introduction of the ward system was approved and sanctioned by the Govt.
Prior to 1877, there were no municipalities in the districts. In that year however municipalities were established in most of the Taluka places, though they had no definite constitutions nor was any financial provision made for thews. They were entirely managed by the administrations of the Talukas. There was no house tax nor was there any general assessment of property. Baroda State Govt. had under taken to defray all the expenses by regular annual grants which were in the beginning placed under the control of the public works Dept. and subsequently in 1892, under the management of the Sanitory Commissioner. Later, the subas were authorised to prepare lists of individuals likely to take an intelligent interest in local affairs and to appoint from 8 to 16 members to carry on the municipal administration in different places.
In 1947 India became independent and the princely state of Baroda was merged into the Bombay state in 1949. The municipal administration was functioning as per the provisions of the Bombay District Municipal Act. In 1951 however the city administration came under the guidelines of Baroda Municipal Act.
On 1st April Baroda got the status of the Municipal Corporation and hence the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act was enforced. Ever since then the Municipal administration is run as per the provisions of the BPMC Act 1951.
Vadodara as it has now been renamed has 10 administrative wards and 26 election wards. Each election ward is represented by three councilors of whom one is a lady councilor. Thus the total number of Municipal councilors is 78. The election is held once in five years and the Mayor’s tenure is maximum of 2½ years. While the Mayor is the head of the elected body, the administrative head is the Municipal Commissioner who is assisted by a couple of Deputy Municipal Commissioners and several other officers including city engineer, chief accountant and ward officers. Each administrative ward is headed by the ward officer who is responsible for efficient and smooth functioning of revenue collection, sanitation and implementation of certain govt. schemes and he is answerable to the Asst. Municipal Commissioner (Zone). There are two Deputy Engineers in each ward who are equivalent in grade to the ward officer and are looking after water supply and drainage functioning. These engineers are working under direct supervision of an Executive Engineer (zone).