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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri/Bhubaneswar, Mar 29:

The nine-member team headed by Puri Collector constituted to probe into the alleged Swargadwara land grab completed its preliminary inquiry today.

Collector Arvind Agarwal accompanied by other officials of the team today visited Govardhan Peeth mutt and Swargadwara area to make an on-spot survey of these places to ascertain about encroachments and other aspects vis-à-vis records.

The Collector, however, said that the more they are digging deep; they are finding newer facts and would require more time to complete a full-fledged inquiry.

“If we are requiring for the inquiry definitely it has some meaning. The deeper we are digging we are coming across newer facts. To complete inquiry into 130-135 cases certainly some more time is required. We also have information on some land transactions which have taken place later (after 1989 settlement). These transactions will be inquired into in the second phase of the inquiry,” informed Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal speaking to reporters.

The panel will submit its report to RDC (Central) A B Ota.

It may be mentioned here that the RDC had on March 23 after an emergency meeting announced constitution of the nine-member panel to probe into allegations of Swargadwara land grab. The RDC had asked the panel to submit its report within seven days.

On the other hand, there is no abatement to protests and resentment against grabbing of Swargadwara land.

The Puri district unit of the Youth Congress today took to the streets here demanding the arrest of local MLA Maheswar Mohanty and resignation of Puri Municipality Chairman Jayant Sarangi.

Youth Congress activists staged a massive demonstration in front of the Collector’s office over the issue.

“We demand the removal of Puri Municipality Chairman. Local MLA Maheswar Mohanty was the Municipality Chairman then and during his tenure, all the irregularities have taken place. Why has he not been arrested? If there is a civil proceeding against that land why Collector is not taking possession of it?” questioned Sujit Mahapatra, state unit Vice-President Youth Congress.

The Swargadwara land grab issue also reverberated in the Odisha Assembly during Zero Hour today.

“Influential persons have grabbed and encroached upon lands of Puri’s Govardhan Peeth and Swargadwara. They should be immediately evicted,” said Rabi Nayak, BJP MLA speaking to reporters outside the House.