Odisha govt yet to set ToR for task force on DQ allotments

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 6:

It is now clear that the task force constituted by the Odisha government to look into allotment of land and houses under the discretionary quota was nothing but an exercise in buying time. Nearly a week after the formation of the three-member task force, to be headed by additional chief secretary (Revenue) Tara Dutt, the crucial basis of the panel’s probe- the terms of reference (ToR) – is yet to be defined.

“The terms of reference for the task force are yet to be outlined and no time frame has been fixed for the probe. The committee is confused about where to start- whether from 1995 or 2002. There are no guidelines either on which departments will come under the scrutiny.  There is also no clarity on what action is to be taken against persons found guilty,” said an official, expressing dissatisfaction over the notification for forming a task force without any ToR.

Sources said that Taradatt, the head of the committee, has already communicated his views to the chief secretary in the matter and sought his opinion on how to start the process without any ToR in place.

Some officials have raised doubts over the formation of the committee, which also includes the secretary of the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) and special secretary, GA department.

“The committee will have officials of H&UD and GA departments, the same departments which have allocated houses and plots to various influential people. How can these departments take action against its own officers,” questioned the officials.

The team will scrutinize the entire gamut of allotment of houses and plots by government agencies like the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, Cuttack Development Authority, Odisha State Housing Board and the General Administration department with particular reference to people with political clout managing to get more than one house or land in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

The committee will go through the allotments made by government agencies and submit its report to the government.

Official sources said there had been rampant misuse of discretionary powers by the ministers while allotting houses to powerful people, including politicians and bureaucrats.

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