Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 27:
With the media spotlight turned on the Trahi Achyuta ashram at Jhiinti Sasan village under Balianta block on the outskirts of the Odisha capital since the arrest of two dreaded criminals from Bihar staying there as inmates for 17 long years, the Balianta tehsildar today issued a show-cause notice to Surendra Mishra alias Surendra Baba alias Sura Baba, the chief of the Ashram, asking him why he should not be evicted from the government land he has encroached on.
“As per the land records, the ashram has encroached on 21 decimals of government land. We have asked the ashram head to furnish a reply on this by August 29,” the tehsildar said.
It is not as if the tehsil office was not aware of the encroachment. It had registered a case against the ashram in 2010, but mysteriously did not take any steps for eviction.
The Balianta tehsildar had directed the concerned Revenue Inspector (RI) to probe into the land encroached by the ashram authorities and submit a report after a series of reports in leading Odia daily ‘Sambad’ about the shady activities in the ashram.
As per the report of the RI, the Trahi Achyuta Trust has 3.76 acres of land in its name of which 81 decimals come under gharabari category, 24 decimals under patita category and 22 decimals under bagayat category. Besides, 19 decimals of land comprise water bodies while two acres are agriculture land.
Apart from this, the ashram authorities have encroached on 1.29 acres of government land where a Dola Mandap and a few houses have been built.
The encroached government land has been registered in the name of Trilochan Mishra, brother of the ashram head Sura Baba, and Dinabandhu Sundaray and Jibanakrushna Sundaray, two brothers from Bargarh area.
Sources in the locality said the ashram Trustees, after setting up the ashram, have fraudulently acquired nearby agricultural land from farmers and later converted these land into gharabari category with the help of some tehsil and Revenue staff.
Though there was resentment among the people of the locality against the fraudulent activities of the ashram authorities, the matters were allegedly hushed up by some influential political leaders, senior bureaucrats and police officers.
Allegations of criminal activities have also been levelled against the ashram authorities by local people. Locals have said on condition of anonymity that the ashram authorities, through the help of their goons, have permanently driven out some families from Jhiinti village. These homeless families have brought the matter to the knowledge of the district administration and the police, but to no avail.
In a revelation that speaks volumes about the clout that the Baba enjoys with the government of the day, it has been found that the state Tourism department has provided Rs 28 lakh for the infrastructure development of the ashram for which tendering process has been completed since June this year.
The Tourism department has also listed the Ashram as a premier ‘tourist destination’ in Khurda district.
The people of Jhiinti area, who had lost all hope of ever stopping the Baba from his nefarious activities, now see ray of hope after ‘Sambad’ turned the spotlight on the Trahi Achyuta ashram in the wake of the arrest of the two Bihari criminals. The phones at ‘Sambad’ have not stopped ringing since then with people volunteering information about the shady goings-on in the ashram.