Elections to 83,000 cooperative housing societies with upto 250 members deferred till February 29

Mumbai: The elections of 83,000 cooperative housing societies (CHS) having up to 250 members in Maharashtra has been further deferred till February 29, 2020 from December 31, 2019, which was earlier proposed. The existing committee of the respective society can continue to function till the elections are held by the society as per new rules.

The government, in a notification issued on January 14, has said that the postponement of elections was necessitated as the cooperation department is yet to frame rules and its priority now is the implementation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government's crop loan waiver scheme covering 30.57 lakh farmers with a loan of up to Rs 2 lakh.

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Further, the government said that the cooperation department has limited staff, which is engaged in seeking the judiciary's opinion and completing all the procedures for the effective implementation of the crop loan waiver.

The delay in the formation of the government and in the allocation of the portfolio of ministry has further held up the process of finalizing the election rules.

As per the co-operation department data, there are about two lakh cooperative societies registered in Maharashtra, of which one lakh are housing societies. The cooperation department officer Anil Chaudhari, who issued the notification, said a high-level meeting, chaired by the cooperation secretary, is needed to finalize rules after taking into account suggestions and objections. The government has received over 125 suggestions and objections.

Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association chairman Ramesh Prabhu told FPJ, ''The government should not take further time to finalise rules, so that elections can start from March 1 onwards.''

Considering the unique features of housing societies, the state government amended the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960 to include a separate chapter for cooperative housing societies (CHS). Before this amendment, elections to all the types of societies and CHS were to be done by the officer appointed by the Maharashtra Cooperative Election Authority.

This was taking a lot of time of the society and the cost incurred was huge. Therefore, the government amended the Act to give relief and ease the election process of smaller CHS and it was made effective from March 9, 2019.