Bhubaneswar: Authorities of the development authority, which has been stung by a series of controversies over allotment of land and plots in the city will celebrate the annual day of the organisation on September 1 in an austere manner.
Sources said that initially the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) had booked Jayadev Bhavan, but it was cancelled, and now, they had planned to hold the function in their conference hall.
Officials of the development body are tight-lipped about the turn of the events starting from the audit objections raised by the CAG and allotment of plots and houses on the discretionary quota to powerful people. And now, they are even more defensive admitting to the change of venue and the plan to celebrate the annual day in a quiet manner.
Vice-chairman of the development body Krishan Kumar said: “In government departments, austerity has become the key issue, and we are following the same. On earlier occasions also, we have celebrated the day in the conference hall in a small manner. It should not be viewed in another perspective.”
Officials of the organisation, however, admitted that the scaling down of the celebration was due to the bad publicity it had incurred over the past several months and it could be a planned way to be sway from the media glare.
Secretary of the development authority Ranjan Kumar Das on August 21 wrote a letter to the housing and urban development department to create a post of public relations officer in it.
The letter stated: “At present, negative media coverage is found related to Bhubaneswar Development Authority activities almost on daily basis due to lack of communication with media personnel. Most of time wrong reporting is found in electronic and print media.”
It has also added that the governing body of the authority on June 10 okayed a proposal to create a public relation officer’s post in the development body. It has also sought an official from the information and public relations cadre to handle the responsibilities.
Senior administrative officer of the authority Madhusmita Rath admitted that the negative publicity in the media had hurt the authorities. However, she said shifting of the venue was not a big thing and rather it was the austere nature adopted by the development body and it should be encouraged.
During the annual day celebration, the authority distributes its annual report consisting of its activities and announces new schemes or parks across the city.