Odisha forest land scam: villagers demolish boundary, dig up road

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 23:

Even as the BJD Odisha government is engaged in a desperate – and at times laughable – exercise to put the genie called the Ghangapatna land scam back into the bottle, BJP activists, with the help of locals, today demolished the boundary wall erected at the controversial land and dug up the road as well.

( pic- Biswaranjan  Mishra)
( pic- Biswaranjan Mishra)

Local people, along with women wearing saffron caps, first blocked the road connecting the place to the capital city and then demolished the boundary wall put up on the 100 acres of land illegally grabbed by some ruling party leaders and bureaucrats. They also dug up the approach road, which is perceived to have been constructed by Panchayati Raj department under MGNREGS scheme.

“The villagers today demolished the boundary wall to free their village land. We only assisted them and will continue to fight for their cause,” said Sudipta Ray, a local BJP leader.

Alleging that the road was constructed on land belonging to the ‘parbat kisam’ (hill type), local Zila Parishad member Daktar Behera said the government should return the land to the villagers in the area. He said the area had been earmarked for a peacock park.

(Pic-Biswaranjan Mishra)
(Pic-Biswaranjan Mishra)

Notably, the government had announced that the forest and revenue department officials would conduct a joint inquiry to ascertain the kisam of the land.

The announcement is being widely seen as an attempt to bury the controversy, which is threatening to expose the rampant land grab by ruling party politicians, including Rajya Sabha member Kalpataru Das, and bureaucrats.

Incidentally, while Routray had ordered an inquiry by his department on Wednesday, Forest minister Bikram Arukh had asked the Chandaka DFO on Thursday to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

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