Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Bhubaneswar, Dec 21:
The report of the Task Force headed by Additional chief secretary Revenue Taradatt constituted by the Odisha government to inquire into the irregularities and illegalities in allotment of plots/flats/houses under the discretionary quota (DQ) has put the General Administration (GA) department in the dock for gross violation of norms.
The report, which is likely to put the Chief Minister and the chief secretary, who head the GA department, in a tight spot, says while the BDA, CDA and OSHB have allotted 3 to 10 per cent of land/flats under different projects, the GA department has allotted 100% of land as per its own sweet will and without any guidelines.
Post submission of the report, the government has announced a Vigilance probe into the allotments under BDA, CDA and OSHB while conspicuously leaving out the allotmentsmade by the GA dept in a thinly veiled move to protect the Chief Minister.
The attempt by the state government has given sufficient fodder to the Opposition to corner the ruling party. The Opposition BJP and Congress have echoed similar demands of CBI inquiry instead of Vigilance probe as they suspect the latter cannot do a fair investigation.
The Task Force report points out that all land allotments in the state capital are done by the GA department. The state government has allotted land to individuals and organisations under Section 3 of Government Grants Act 1895, without bothering to set any guidelines for such allocation.
The report submitted to the Odisha government and subsequently posted on its official website bares it all. The voluminous report enlists the beneficiaries of the multiple and other allotments in gross violation of the norms.
The report mentions that around 2200 plots and flats from BDA, CDA, Housing board and GA department have been allotted to 200 influential people in violation of the discretionary quota guidelines. The high and mighty includes politicians, MLAs, bureaucrats and journalists, the report said.
While the cancellation of allotments since January 1, 1995 may weed out the illegal approvals after due course of action, the genuine beneficiaries have been dragged into the controversy.
According to the report, the GA department had floated a scheme in 1989 to allot flats under Ghatikia, Aiginia, Sampur and around 3000 plots in Bharatpur on the outskirts of the city. However, only a meagre 2783 applications were received as advertisements were purportedly suppressed to favour a few. The scheme was designed in such a way that multiple allotments could be done by the department in the absence of sufficient applicants. Despite this, the state government did not initiate any action, the panel report highlighted.