Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sept 22:
Protesting the unilateral policy of the state government, members of Citizen 4 Forces staged a dharna near Lower PMG Square here.
“Considering the sacrifice and selfless service of the soldiers, the Centre and the state governments have promulgated a number of resolutions, notifications and orders for their resettlement. However, the Odisha government has betrayed our defence personnel,” said Smrutiranjan Biswal, national convener and Odisha state head of Citizen 4 Forces.
Stating that the state government has reserved land under Jawan Sarankhit Jameen (land reserved for armed forces) category in each tehsils, Biswal said as per the RTI Act information obtained by the secretary of Indian Ex-servicemen League Odisha branch Bidyadhar Nayak (ex Navy), out of 316 tehsils, only 56 have furnished information about reservation of 98299.589 acres of Jawan Sarankhit Jameen till 2013 while the remaining 260 tehsils have not yet furnished information. Considering the area available in 56 tehsils, these remaining 260 tehsils should have nearly 3 lakh acres of Jawan Sarankhit land.
He also informed that as per the Resolution no.11323 poll/36-29/63 of the state Home department on May 14, 1963, the state government had decided to allot 5 acres of land to the Odisha jawans who had fought 1962 Chinese aggression war.
Pursuant to the above resolution, the state Revenue department in its order no. 19513 on April 16, 1998 had notified that all landless” ex-servicemen would be entitled to one standard acre of agricultural land.
As per records of 2000-2012, the Rajya Sainik Board under the Home department considered 2726 jawans eligible for allotment of land out of which only 32 ex-servicemen have got land till date.
Taking strong exception to such irregularities and unlawful activities, Nayak had submitted a memorandum to the chief minister’s official e-mail id with copies to the secretaries of Home and Revenue departments on June 24 last year.
While there was no reply from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), the Home and the Revenue department, the Home department, in the meanwhile, brought a resolution no. 7390 – polls/2-04/2013-poll through an extraordinary gazette notification on February 19 this year saying the government will give cash in lieu of land to landless jawans of Odisha on the pretext of scarcity of land.
“Such a unilateral resolution may have come out due to lack of coordination between the Revenue and Home department”, Biswal pointed out.
He said the Association will soon submit a memorandum to the chief minister demanding immediate revocation of cash-in-lieu-of-land policy, an order to 260 tehsils to provide the land earmarked for the ex-servicemen, a CBI probe to unravel the status of Jawan Sarankhit Jameen lands in all 316 tehsils and orders to the Home and Revenue departments and Rajya Sainik Board for allotment of these lands to all eligible ex-servicemen, with immediate effect.