Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Phulbani, Jun 9:
Frustrated after failing to get his auto rickshaw, seized by the RTO office here way back in 2000, back after doing everything he could do, a man from Odisha’s Kandhamal district has threatened to commit immolation along with his family in front of Naveen Niwas if the authorities fail to recover his auto rickshaw which the latter claim has been ‘stolen’.
Nilanchal Nayak from Nathapadar village under Phiringia block in Kandhamal district has been doing the rounds of offices to get back his stolen auto rickshaw, which did a vanishing act from the premises of the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Bhubaneswar in 2000, for an unbelievable 15 years now.
On Monday, he again met the district collector with his grievance, but in vain.
“I would set ablaze myself, my wife and son if the authorities do not give me justice and help me recover my stolen auto rickshaw,” a distraught Nilanchal said after coming out of the Collector’s office.
As per reports, Nilanchal had purchased an auto rickshaw on finance from Odisha State Finance Development Corporation (OSFDC) in 1999 to earn his livelihood. A few months later, his auto rickshaw met with an accident in Baliguda in January 2000 while he was ferrying a customer. The vehicle was severely damaged in the accident.
As it was not possible to repair the vehicle locally, he mounted the vehicle on a mini truck and came to Bhubaneswar for repair, which took months to restore to its original shape. However, while returning with the newly-repaired vehicle, he was caught and asked by the Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) to show documents at Acharya Vihar. The vehicle was seized as he could not furnish the documents. He was asked to release his vehicle from the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Bhubaneswar after producing the documents.
The following day, he appeared at the RTO office in the state capital with the documents to get his vehicle back but was allegedly driven out of the office by the officials with the help of police personnel. They said that the vehicle had been stolen from the transport office’s premises.
The statement of the RTO staff came as a bolt from the blue for Nilanchal.
He immediately complained to the Saheed Nagar police in the capital city, but the police allegedly did not lend an ear to him. He even approached the regional legal service authority, but again to no avail.
After running from pillar to post for years, he petitioned the chief minister, transport secretary, district collector, superintendent of police and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), but all his efforts went down the drain. Fifteen years after the theft incident, he is yet to retrieve his vehicle bearing registration number OR 12- 3720, which was his sole source of his income to feed a family of three.
Meanwhile, the OFDC has served a notice on Nilanchal to auction the mortgaged property should he fails to repay the loan amounting to over Rs 2 lakh.
With help not coming his way, the distressed man has now threatened to immolate himself, his wife and his son in front of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence—Naveen Niwas.