Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 1:
Within hours of the sharp attack by BJP on chief minister Naveen Patnaik for not taking any action to stop misuse of discretionary quota, senior BJD leader and Odisha School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra today jumped to the defence of his master denying that there was any misuse of discretionary quota and describing all the allegations hurled at the chief minister as ‘baseless’.
“Allegations should be based on some facts. There were no irregularities by the Naveen Patnaik government in allocation of houses and plots under discretionary quota. The BJP is accusing the government only to hoodwink the people,” said Mishra at a hurriedly organised press conference at the party office this afternoon.
He was responding to the allegations of senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra, who had earlier today launched a scathing attack on the chief minister for not formulating a uniform policy on allocation of plots even after an order of Odisha High Court in this regard in 2002.
Comparing his government with the Congress government, Mishra said 536 houses were allocated under discretionary quota in 1995-2000, while his government had allocated 227 houses during 2000-2009. As many as 224 of these houses were allocated when BJP’s Ministers were at the helm of affairs of the Housing and Urban Development department, he emphasised.
Responding to the allegations that the government had swept the file under the carpet without forming any policy, he said that no file was suppressed by Third Floor (chief minister’s office).
Asked about the CAG indicting the government for allocating more than one house or plot to a single family, the Minister said the government would take steps in the matter after the recommendations of Public Account Committee of the state Assembly.
Responding to a query from the media on whether the government would take action against the violators, he said everyone is equal before the law and action would be initiated as per the rules.