Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 1:
The Odisha Government is yet to implement the recommendations of the task force formed to probe allotment of houses and land under the discretionary quota. The three-month deadline set by the government to take action on the report is long ove. But instead of working on it, the government has asked the BDA, CDA and Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) not to take any action in an attempt to cover up the issue.
The Urban Development Ministry is doing all that it can to prevent a vigilance investigation into the issue. The CMO has gone on to transfer Tara Dutt, the head of the task force, out of the secretariat.
Urban Development Secretary G Mathivathanan, however, has a different take on the issue.
“We have not blocked any action to implement the recommendations of the task force. The cabinet had decided that the Advocate General and the Law Department would work out a strategy to implement the report within three months. That process is not over yet. Once this is over, we would implement the report of the task force. What action can vigilance take, when the method of implementation of the report has not been finalized,” exclaimed Mathivathanan.
Curiously, Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo, who was outspoken after the December 18 cabinet meeting and assured action within three months tried to put the blame on General Administration (GA) Department.
“The government has received the recommendations of the Advocate General and the Law Department. Principal Secretary Nitin Chandra of the GA Department is taking steps to take stringent action based on the recommendation of the report. However, he has been transferred and GVV Sharma has joined in his place. A notification would be issued after he studies the case. The GA Department has advised not to take up the issue till then,” said Singhdeo.
The larger question, however, remains. Why should the government transfer Chandra, who was planning to take “stringent action”? Also, what can be the motive of the government behind transferring Tara Dutt, widely seen as an efficient officer, out of the secretariat? The silence of the government on the recommendations of the AG and Law department certainly creates doubts about its intention and sincerity in implementing the recommendations of the task force.
The lack of action and unwanted transfers of worthy officials clearly indicate that the Government is attempting a cover up. It has already missed the three-month deadline to take action and now it is almost four months since the report was submitted. That is why the unwillingness of the government to implement the cabinet decision points to foul play. It may also have been a well orchestrated attempt to save the all-powerful men from the power corridors, who benefited from the massive scam.
It may be noted that, the government had formed a task force on August 2 last year to investigate allotment of land and houses under the discretionary quota. The task force headed by Additional Chief Secretary Tara Dutt had submitted its report on November 3.