Odisha minister seeks to brazen out fresh land scam

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 26:

A day after it came to fore that 13 individuals and organizations had grabbed prime government plots in the name of establishing healthcare facilities, Odisha Revenue minister Bijayshree Routray, whose MBBS wife Jyoti Routray is also a beneficiary of such allotment, put up a brave face and said that he had not done any illegality by residing in the plot instead of running it as a nursing home.

Bijoyshree Routray, Revenue & DM minister
Bijoyshree Routray, Revenue & DM minister

Bijayshree’s spouse is a beneficiary among 13 individuals or organizations, who have availed prime government plots measuring at least eight acres in the city. The beneficiaries took land from the government on highly subsidised rates between 1982 and 2006 to establish healthcare facilities. However, they did not come up with the hospitals or nursing homes.

The Odisha government had allocated the land (Plot no A/117) at Kharavela Nagar at subsidised price in 1986 to Jyoti Routray to set up a nursing home. But there is no nursing home or hospital on the land, Instead, the family members of Routray are residing on the allocated plot.

“Mrs Routray was running a nursing home for five-six years. But it could not be run after that as she has no specialisation. So, I started residing here since I have no house in Bhubaneswar. I have done no illegalities by residing here,” said Routray.

When asked whether he would return the plot to the government, the minister shot back; “There are many instances where hostels and science colleges have been set up on government land allocated for industry purpose. Did they return their land? Why should I return my plot? If inquiry is made, then everybody should come into the ambit, not only me,” asked the minister.

The matter could not have come to light had the government tried to implement the Supreme Court order of mandatory free treatment for below poverty line (BPL) patients at the rate of 25% in outpatient departments and 10% in indoors.

On July 24, the government came up with the free treatment notification for 44 such hospitals in and around the city. The government asked the hospitals to submit monthly returns of number of patients treated outdoors and indoors and number of BPL patients in outdoors/ indoors, besides names, addresses, diagnosis, treatment procedure and cost incurred by the hospitals on BPL patients in consonance with the SC guidelines.

Only 21 of the 44 hospitals responded to the directorate of medical education and training (DMET), the nodal agency to implement the scheme, with their records.

While verifying about the rest, DMET scanned data of a number of registered hospitals/ nursing homes under it as all hospitals are registered under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010.

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