Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Mar 30:
In a significant ruling, the Odisha High Court today ordered the return of 2.5 acres of land near the Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar on which a seven-star hotel is being built to Lord Lingaraj temple.
The court also declared null and void the tripartite agreement signed between the hotel group, the Odisha government and the Temple trust for handing over the land to the hotel and sharing of the proceeds between the Odisha government and the temple in the ratio of 60:40, the petitioner’s counsel Ishwar Das said.
The son of the original allottee Gobinda Mekap, a servitor in the Lingaraj Temple, had challenged the legal validity of the agreement brokered by the chief secretary on the ground that the original lease deed was yet to be cancelled.
Rejecting the plea made by the hotel group, the court asked the land to be returned to the servitor who had been given the land by the temple trust.
The construction of a seven-star is underway on the lhe land in question, located right behind Naveen Nivas, the Chief Minister’s residence. But with today’s ruling, the fate of the proposed hotel, touted to be the biggest in the state, now hangs in balance.
The original allottee had given a power of attorney to another person named Dora, who had managed to get the land registered in his name during settlement and had sold it off to a real estate firm, sources said. The court declared the sale as null and void.