CUTTACK: In another blow to Odisha Olympic Association (OOA), the district administration on Monday took possession of 2.703 acre encroached by it. Over 80 employees of OOA and Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) stay in the flats that have come up on this disputed land.
A team of district officers measured the plot and put up red flag demarcating its boundary, in the presence of sub-collector (Cuttack Sadar) Raghuram Iyer. Notices, announcing that the property belongs to the administration and strict action will be taken against trespassers, were pasted on the premises, official sources said.
Eviction notices will soon be issued to those residing in the flats, the sources added.
"The property now belongs to the administration. The OOA will not be allowed to carry out any construction work on it or use it," said Iyer. Collector (Cuttack) Nirmal Mishra will soon convene a meeting to take a decision on how to utilize the land, he added.
In 1969, the state government leased the 2.703 acre, adjoining Barabati stadium, to OOA for 90 years for construction of an indoor stadium and a dormitory for players. But the association instead constructed a playground for Odisha Cricket Academy, a swimming pool and a four-storey building. Another six-storey building is under construction.
In 2003, the then collector of Cuttack probed the matter and ordered for taking back the land. The tehsildar transferred the land to government records in March this year.
The OOA's secretary Asirbad Behera expressed displeasure over the development. "The administration neither issued any notice nor gave us a chance to make our stand clear. The land was being used for promotion of sports in the state and not for any personal benefit. Where will our employees and their families go?" questioned Behera.
In November last year, the Orissa high court directed the Crime Branch to probe into the affairs of OOA and directed the Cuttack administration to take possession of 709-decimal land, which was illegally encroached by the association.
The order was given in response to a petition filed by the government, alleging encroachment of its land by OOA. The association had challenged the high court's verdict in the Supreme Court with the hope to get some relief. But the apex court upheld the HC's verdict.