Bhubaneswar, Aug. 3: Associations and unions that have land in the heart of the city and are using them for things other than their community activities, beware. The state government has initiated steps to estimate the misuse of plots or use of land for commercial purposes in clear violation of allotment norms.
At the last meeting of the city management group, the apex body that discusses the problems of the development activities in the city and their redressal, the authorities came to a decision on this issue. It asked the general administration department, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to conduct a survey and take action where instances of illegal land use and consequent traffic problems and environmental pollution were identified.
At least 10 such plots dot Kharavela Nagar and Unit-IX. Most of them rent out the space for weddings, birthdays and other functions, despite the plots having been given to them for their union and community functions and holding state-level congregations.
Director of estates, general administration department, Pradip Kumar Rath, said: “We have come across several findings where the allotted plots for the union or community activities are used for commercial purposes. With the public gathering and community-eating services, the areas are also getting polluted and parking problems arise on the service roads. The BMC and BDA authorities will help us in this regard.”
Sources said while checking land-use pattern was the BDA’s jurisdiction, the BMC had a say on traffic and sanitation issues. Deputy commissioner, BMC, Krushna Chandra Pati said there were several loopholes in the Odisha Municipal Corporation Act, 2003, which should have detailed norms on trade licence issuing so that those violating the basic criteria could be taken to task. “We are going to discuss the issue at the city management group meeting,” he said.
Health office sources in the BMC said that private community centres in the city would be asked to enroll under the express cleaning service so that the waste generated could be cleaned immediately.
“Many community centres under the BMC are still being controlled by local clubs and no one knows whether money collected from these centres goes to BMC or not. In Laxmisagar, several such buildings exist and they encroaching upon nearby land of several institutions for their commercial gain. For a wedding reception, these centres in the city demand anything Rs 30,000 and Rs 1 lakh,” said a resident of Laxmisagar.
Police said they, along with the BDA and fire services officials, had inspected the places used as kalyan mandaps without valid licences. They had identified seven organisations renting their places out as kalyan mandaps.
“Despite our recommendations, only two of them stopped organising marriage functions,” said additional deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Nirmal Satpathy.
However, office-bearers of the five other organisations said they had procured trade licence from the BMC to rent out their land for programmes.