Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 20:
The list of allottees of government land and flats by the Odisha government under its discretionary quota (DQ), which was uploaded in the General Administration department section of the government website on Friday, has revealed gross violation of norms.
The Task Forc report makes it clear that the state government had allotted land and flats to influential persons at its whim and without any criteria or norms. Even the General Administration (GA) department, which is directly under the Chief Minister’s control, had indulged in the illegal acts for nearly 20 years since 1995.
The report of the task force led by additional chief secretary, Revenue Taradatt, which probed the illegal allotments, has stated that the ministers were using the DQ like kings and landlords as if government land in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar were their own properties. In stark violation of the DQ rules, these ministers, instead of allotting government lands to the deserving, had allotted these lands to the rich and influential persons.
Among those who were allotted government land and flats are top political leaders and bureaucrats.
As per the list prepared by the task force, political leaders who have availed land or houses under the DQ are BJD leaders and ministers Bikram Keshari Arukh and Ashok Panda; Debendra Pradhan, father of BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan; senior BJP leader and Union minister Jual Oram; Pranab Balabantray, BJD MLA and son of Rajya Sabha member Kalpataru Das; Pratima Das, wife of Kalpataru Das; BJD MLA Pravat Biswal; former minister and BJD MLA Pramila Mallick; Sobhamayee Dehuri, wife of MP Nagendra Pradhan, and BJD leader and minister Pradip Maharathy.
The senior bureaucrats who have availed the DQ are Water Resources secretary Pradip Jena, Forest and Environment secretary RK Sharma, former chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik, IPS Satyajit Mohanty, IAS officers Nikunja Dhal and Vishal Dev, Bishnupada Sethi, Surendra Tripathy, Ashwini Baishnab and Pramod Mohanty.
The task force report has stated that the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has allotted government land and flats under 21 new housing schemes since 1995.
Besides, it has also allotted surplus land and houses under16 previous housing schemes.
In the last 19 years, BDA has allotted 803 houses and plots under DQ in gross violation of the norms, the task force report has stated. On the other hand, 921 houses and plots have been allotted by Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) to the rich and influential persons, some of whom have availed more than one land and house.
Besides, the chairpersons of the Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) have allotted 67 houses under DQ. The task force report has also stated that two Housing and Urban Development ministers—Bhupinder Singh and Samir De— between 1999 and 2004, had allotted land and houses under DQ assuming that they were chairpersons of BDA and CDA though there was no government notification on their appointments as the head of these two authorities.
Terming the allotment made by these two former ministers as illegal, the task force has recommended the government to cancel allotment of these plots and houses constructed on these plots.