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Bijoy Mohapatra tears into Odisha govt on land scam

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 10:

Accusing the Odisha government of shielding ruling party politicians and bureaucrats involved in the Ghangapatna land scam, senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra today said chief minister Naveen Patnaik led the foundation for land grabbing and has continued to remain silent on the issue so far instead of revealing the names of the people involved before the people.

Bijay Mohapatra ( pic - Biswaranjan Mishra)
Bijay Mohapatra ( pic – Biswaranjan Mishra)

“You (chief minister) are silent over the Ghangapatna land grab issue because people around you are involved in the scam. You should present the facts to the people. But, you are scared to reveal the names since you know that it would expose the fraudulent activities of you and your government,” said Mohapatra at a press conference here today.

Reiterating his demand for a CBI probe into the matter, the BJP leader said the Crime Branch, which has been entrusted with probing the case, is only an exercise to cover up the misdemeanour of people at the helm of power as it has been doing in other cases, including the chit fund scam.

Launching a scathing attack on the government, Mohapatra alleged that the Revenue and Disaster Management department had cancelled the settlement process in Khurdha, Jatani and Chandaka area in 2010, which had been going on since 1995, only to favour the land grabbers.

“You stopped the settlement process through a notification in 2010 cancelling all the settlement work in the area. And surprisingly, Ghangapatna village also comes in the area. Why did you de-notify the settlement process, which happens only in emergency situation? What does it indicate? Why should you not come under the scanner for showing favouritism to the land mafia by cancelling the settlement process?” asked Mohapatra.

He also accused that while cabinet sub-committees were constituted to deal with cases of land grab, their reports were not placed in the cabinet only to safeguard the culprits and allow them to grab the land in the capital city. “You did not allow placing of the reports in the cabinet and kept them in your office. Then, who led the foundation of the land grabbing and what compelled you not to place these reports in the cabinet?” asked Mohapatra.

Stating that the collector of Khurdha had furnished a report citing land fraud in Ghangapatna, he said the report stated that Gokarneswar charitable trust, which had been allocated land in the village, had sold the land to Sarvodaya real estate, an organisation owned by same person who also heads the Trust.

With the government claiming to form a policy to prevent land grab, Mohapatra said the an attempt was made in this directions by the government in April 2012 and in June 2012 following the Law department’s direction. “But, you sat over the recommendations of the Law department for the last two years. Now, you are trying to fool the gullible people telling them that the government would bring a policy to stop the illegal land grabbing,” said Mohapatra.