Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 2:
With the indiscriminate allotment of land and houses under the discretionary quota causing a lot of hue and cry over the last few days, a panicky Odisha government today formed a three-member task force to review the entire issue as part of its belated damage control exercise.
The task force would submit its report to the government with recommendations.
A notification to this effect was issued on the orders of chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
The task force, led by Revenue secretary Tara Dutt with secretary Urban Development and special secretary, General Administration as the two other members, would review all discretionary allotments made by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Cuttack Development Authority (CDA), General Administration department and the Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) and take appropriate action, the notification said.
BDA allotted 185 houses and plots while CDA allocated as many as 449 houses and plots to different people – mostly politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and journalists – between 2002 to 2010.
The CAG report recently presented in the Assembly had pointed out several deficiencies in implementation of the discretionary quota.
The state government had discontinued the discretionary quota in December 2011 due to lack of uniformity in criteria used for identification of allottees by the two development authorities and the OSHB.
The abuse of discretionary by and for those in power has snowballed into a major issue in the last few days in the wake of the revelation that BJD vice president and Rajya Sabha member Kalpataru Das and his family members had availed as many as five plots and houses under the discretionary quota.
After being targeted by his own party leaders, Kalpataru’s son returned two of the houses allocated to him -one each by BDA and OSHB – under the discretionary quota.