Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 7:
Sensational facts are tumbling out of the closet with every passing day in the matter of allotment of plots by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) in the Odisha’s capital.
The latest disclosures prove that political leaders and top bureaucrats are not the only ones who managed to grab plots at prized locations from the BDA at throwaway prices. Even clerical staff at the concerned ministers and BDA employees too got a slice of the cake.
These startling facts had come to the fore years ago after an investigation by the Vigilance department. But the government had chosen to brush the uncomfortable disclosures under the carpet. But after the current furore over land grabbing in the Twin City, the General Administration department has belatedly initiated legal action against some erring officials, sources said.
Fresh revelations suggest that everybody, right from the minister’s staff to his relatives, has had his hands in the till in the BDA land allotment scam. From a minister’s sister to the wife of the minister’s private secretary and even some hangers on have all grabbed plots from the BDA.
The concerned minister and his cohorts in the BDA distributed among themselves 10 plots at prices as low as Rs 71 per sq ft. Each of these plots is now valued at a few crores of rupees at current market prices.
Despite Vigilance submitting a report to the government on this corruption in BDA in the year 2000 long back, the government is yet to take any action in the matter.
The 10 plots in question in Chandrasekharpur area of Bhubaneswar under the Chandrasekharpur district centre scheme had allegedly been allotted overnight on first-come-first-serve basis without the mandatory advertisement to the cozy club of the then Urban Development minister’s staff, relatives and BDA officials at the behest of the minister himself. The Vigilance had then smelt a rat in the process and had investigated the matter.
The investigation by the Vigilance revealed that the wife of the then minister’s private secretary, brother of the then steno of BDA vice-chairman, sister of the then departmental secretary, wives of two junior clerks, the brother in law of the head clerk and the elder brother of a clerk in the BDA were among the beneficiaries of the allotment.
Plot no.318-1 B was allotted in favour of the then minister’s relative Kalpana Sarkar while the others who had grabbed plots are Sanjukta Mohanty, Pradyumna Kumar Mohanty, Anam Pradhan, Amita Tarenia, Sibananda Biswal, Anirudh Patnaik, Rajalakshmi Samal, Truptimayee Pradhan and then BDA Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Bivash Kanungo.
In its report, the Vigilance department had mentioned that Kanungo, who was assigned the job of fixing the per sq ft rate of the land, had fraudulently fixed the rate at Rs 71 per sq ft instead of the prevailing BDA rate of Rs 120.80 per sq ft.
After sitting tight over the matter for nearly a decade,The General Administration department has recently initiated action against Kanungo, who is presently posted in the Finance department as joint secretary. The GA department has prepared a memo asking him to reply on the allegation within 30 days.
Surprisingly, however, the BDA is yet to initiate action against its erring employees.