Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 23:
While a conspiracy theory is doing the rounds over the sudden transfer of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) Enforcement Officer Deba Prasad Dash, a clarification issued by a top official of BDA on the Odisha government’s decision has raised more questions than it has answered.
“As the former Enforcement Officer of BDA Deba Prasad Dash has done commendable job in carrying out eviction drive in the city, he has been transferred to the recovery section of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). Since joint eviction drive would be led by BMC in the coming days, Dash would be leading the charge,” BDA Administrative Officer Madhumita Rath said.
As per the overhaul in the departments, BDA’s planning department and ODA court has come under BMC’s jurisdiction. In view of this, the eviction drive would be carried out primarily by BMC, she said.
“The joint eviction drive comprising staff of BDC, BMC, GA and police would be led by BMC’s Deputy Commissioner (Recovery) where Dash has been transferred in his new capacity. There is absolutely no pressure or any other reason behind his transfer from BDA to BMC,” Rath argued.
Sources in the know say BMC would fix the job responsibility of Dash in his new role. But this has failed to convince the Doubting Thomases who wonder why an additional officer had to be appointed when Deepak Routray (OAS), has already been appinted as Deputy Commissioner (Recovery) and has been participating in the joint eviction drive.
The clarification is being seen as a desperate move to justify the transfer in the wake of widespread criticism from various quarters.
Since last one and half years or so, the joint team of civic officials from BDA, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and General Administration (GA) Department had achieved unprecedented success rate in eviction and demolition drives.
The administrative officer was instrumental in working out coordination between the three departments to launch a successful flush-out campaign. Prior to him taking over the Enforcement Officer charge, the state of affairs was quite shoddy as illegal encroachments continued unabated.
While he discharged his duties with impartiality and fearlessness, Dash allegedly faced stiff opposition from civic body representatives during his anti-encroachment crusades.
His transfer to the civic body as a member of the eviction drive has put questions over his freedom to act independently without duress.
He would have to deal with pressure from political and influential quarters, sources said.
Approval of plans and enforcement powers to raze any illegal structure still lies with BDA. Given the circumstance, BMC officials cannot do anything on this. If at all the enforcement officer’s post in the BDA had become toothless for which Dash was transferred to BMC, how come another official was appointed in the same post, a source asked on condition of anonymity.
Notably, Dash, in the capacity of Enforcement Officer in BDA, had demolished various illegal structures allegedly constructed by politicians, builders and other influential people in the city.