BHUBANESWAR: Four years have passed since the commissionerate of police announced that it would open a dedicated cell to address grievances related to land disputes. But it is still a non-starter.
While police said the matter is awaiting the state government's nod, duped investors have demanded early establishment of the cell, which should function akin to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Crime Branch.
"The EOW was opened to address financial fraud. The government should immediately start a cell to take up grievances related to land rackets," said Shakti Ranjan Dash, who is still running from pillar to post to get a land from a builder, who reneged on the deal despite taking Rs 5 lakh from him.
"Sarala Realcon's owner Gayadhar Jena has duped several people and we are still not sure whether our money would be refunded," said Dash. Jena was recently arrested by Saheed Nagar police.
Police are also under scanner for allegedly dissuading people from lodging complaints on the pretext that land disputes should be fought in courts. "Police are hand in glove with controversial builders and ask us to file a case in court instead, which is a lingering process. Sometimes, they refuse to entertain land disputes stating that they overburdened with other cases," said Kailas Chandra Mohanty, another duped land buyer.
President of Real Estate Developers Association of Odisha Pradipta Kumar Biswasroy said in the wake of spurt in land scams in Bhubaneswar, the proposed cell should be made functional at the earliest. "It will not only come to rescue of police but also benefit the victims," Biswasroy said.
As many as 20 builders of different controversial real estate firms have been arrested in the last six months. Prominent among them are High-Tech Group chief Tirupati Panigrahi, Seashore Group's Prashant Dash, Artha Tatwa chief Pradeep Sethy, Sarala Realcon owner Gayadhar Jena and Umamani Home Creations chief Narayan Chandra Nayak. "The series of land fraud cases and subsequent arrests has adversely affected our business," said a real estate developer.