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Odisha govt to set up monitoring squads to prevent land encroachment

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 19:

Media reports on the encroachment of about 100 acres forest land by the ruling BJD leaders has left the Odisha government,  which is already under fire for the land scam in the twin city, looking for cover.

Gokul C Pati, Chief Secretary, Odisha
Gokul C Pati, Chief Secretary, Odisha

That explains why the state government today decided to develop a regular mechanism to avoid further encroachment of valuable government land.

“Develop regular mechanism to keep constant vigil over the Govt land either lying in the open or resumed through eviction to save it from encroachment by fixing sign boards and boundary demarcation pillars,” the chief secretary Gokul Chandra Pati told the General Administration (GA) department at a review meeting here.

Pati directed the GA to form regular squads and put in place an information collection system to stay alert to the encroachments.

The government’s decision came hours after a report was published in Sambad and the allegation by the BJP that about 100 acres of forest land had been allegedly encroached by some influential leaders of the ruling BJD.

A road is also being constructed in the illegally acquired area in violation of the Forest Act. The ruling party leaders admitted this at a press conference today.

The chief secretary made it clear that responsibility should be fixed on the squad and they should be held accountable if they do not inspect the areas allotted to them on a regular basis and fail to report any encroachment that takes place.

The chief secretary has also directed the GA department to expedite the cases relating to conversion of lease hold to free hold as per the prescribed principles of law without leaving any scope for discretion at any level.

Pati has also directed the department to take proactive measures for detection of the subletting of government quarters and take stringent action against the offenders, an official present at the meeting said.