Civil society demands CBI probe into Odisha land scam

Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Aug 25:

Civil Society Groups, working for a corruption free and transparent system of governance in Odisha, staged a mass demonstration in front of Lower PMG here today demanding  a CBI inquiry into the massive corruption and irregularities in allotment of government land, houses and plots of ministers, MLAs, bureaucrats and other influential persons.

Photo: Biswaranjan Mishra
Photo: Biswaranjan Mishra

The members submitted a memorandum to the Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urging him to order a CBI inquiry into the land scam in Odisha.

Citing the CAG report on the issue, Pradip Pradhan, Convenor of Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhiyan (OSAA), said the general administration (GA) department and agencies like IDCO, BDA and CDA had generously allotted land and houses to a large number of undeserving people under the discretionary quota during the period 2000-2012.

“The report has exposed in graphic details the instances of corruption, irregularities, undue favour, violation of law and arbitrariness in allotting government land to the individuals, private educational institutions, hospitals and hotels among others,” he said.

Landscam rally aug 25 '14Pradhan alleged that he callousness and inefficiency of the administration had resulted in revenue loss to the state exchequer amounting to thousands of crores of rupees. With undeniable proof and evidences, the report has also brought to the limelight how a dubious nexus among politicians, bureaucrats and business class has been systematically working to loot and plunder the public wealth of Odisha, he said.

The activist said some ministers, MLAs and officers themselves have grabbed two to three plots each under the cover of discretionary quota. Influential persons and institutions have grabbed land in the city by violating law.

Pradhan described the constitution of a task force by the state government to investigate cases of illegal land transfer to different persons and entities as an ‘eyewash’ to fool the public.

“If our demands are not fullfilled we will stage statewide agitations, launch signature campaigns and carry out door to door campaign in the coming days,” the activist warned.

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