BHUBANESWAR: The families of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation during various wars have been deprived of the benefits including land under the war veteran quota. There are thousands of acres of land, including plots, for housing families of the soldiers under the quota, but they have been grabbed by influential people, including political leaders, police and bureaucrats.
The State Government has no concrete data of the lands which have been preserved for the war veterans of Indo-Pak, Indo-China War, and Indo-Pak wars of the 1960s and 70s. Sources said only in 51 tehsils, 98,377.059 acres of land have been reserved for the war veterans across the State.
The State Home Department has recognised 2,726 ex-Army personnel from 2000 to 2012 and given certificate to receive one standard acre of land. But till date, the State Government has given land only to 32 war veterans under the scheme. There are more than 600 acres of land illegally transferred to the names of police officers, IAS, OAS officers, political leaders and land mafias which should instead have gone to the war veterans.
The Government had granted five acres of land to one Gobardhana Panda (72) who fought in 1964 and 1971 wars. Panda was issued with K-Form. Panda started cashew plantation in the land and deposited revenue twice consecutively against it. But a couple of years later, the land went back to the Revenue department and was shown as forest land in records.
Virtually, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is the president of the State Sainik Board, apex organisation under whose aegis welfare schemes for the war veterans are implemented. But the board is totally defunct. The board was last reconstituted in 2008 for a period of three years. Not a single meeting has been held of the board after its term expired in 2011.
Massive misappropriations in plotting schemes under war veteran discretionary quota have been committed with impunity. Out of 108 plots meant for the family of the soldiers, 107 have been illegally allotted in the name of IAS and IPS officers, retired judges, politicians, Ministers and their kin.