Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 20:
It is now clear that the Odisha government was all along aware of the irregularities in the allotment of land within the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) limits.
After the CAG pointed out these gross irregularities and emphasised the need for a well defined policy on such allotments, the Odisha government had embarked on an exercise to formulate a policy as far back as in 2008.
A cabinet sub-committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the then Revenue minister Manmohan Samal of the BJP. Sources said did not meet even once for a whole year after its constitution.
The sub-committee was reconstituted in 2009 Samal’s successor Surya Narayan Patro as its chairman. While the special secretary, General Administration department was made the convener of the sub-committee, the then ministers of Industry, Mines & Steel; Parliamentary Affairs; Law & Rural Development and Home & Urban Development were its other members.
It came to light during audit by the CAG that the sub-committee never met during 2008 and 2009 neither did it submit any proposal/recommendation to the government.
After the CAG had cited it in its draft report, the General Administration department informed the CAG that it had formulated a policy in this regard and it was lying with the chief minister since January 2013 for approval. However, the audit by CAG revealed that the General Administration department was merrily continuing with its irregular land allotments in the absence of a policy.
When asked about it, former Revenue minister Surya Narayan Patro informed that the sub-committee had prepared a policy for land allotment after examining different angles and it had been submitted to the government. The report is pending approval of the cabinet, he added.