Bhubaneswar: Faced with a barrage of criticism on arbitrary allotments of land and houses under the discretionary quota, the state government today announced scrapping of all such allotments made under the quota since January 1, 1995.
The decision to cancel the allotments was taken at the meeting of the state Cabinet. All such plots, houses and flats would now go back to the authorities — Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) and Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB). The Cabinet decision follows the recommendations of a task force on land allotments in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack headed by Taradatt, additional chief secretary, revenue & disaster management.
A total of 1791 allotments including 803 by BDA, 921 by CDA and 67 by OSHB would stand cancelled. The Vigilance wing of the state police will probe cases of multiple allotments and criminal proceedings will be initiated if beneficiaries have got the plots or houses by submitting fake affidavits. Even though the government had done away with the discretionary quota in December 2011, it still drew flak as influential people availed the plots and homes under the quota meant for martyrs, sports persons and distinguished personalities. Ministers, bureaucrats, former and sitting judges, top cops and even journalists were beneficiaries of this quota which had landed the government in deep embarrassment.
The office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) had asked the state government to terminate all irregular allotment of plots including those under discretionary quota without any authority of law or government even if constructions have already taken place on the allotted land.
“The Cabinet has decided to cancel all plots, houses and flats made under the discretionary quota. Our decision has been guided by the recommendations of the task force. The Cabinet decision will put to rest all apprehensions regarding the discretionary quota,” housing & urban development minister Puspendra Singhdeo told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
Leader of Opposition Narsingha Mishra welcomed the Cabinet decision, but pointed out the decision needs to be implemented in letter and spirit.
“There have been many instances in the past when Cabinet decisions of this government have not been implemented. The government cannot take credit from mere announcements,” he said.
As per the Cabinet decision, all allotments made in Bhubaneswar prior to January 1, 1995 would be examined by the BDA and OSHB. For Cuttack, a similar exercise would be carried out by CDA and OSHB. The exercise is expected to be completed in six months. The state finance department will conduct a special audit of all left out cases of multiple allotments as recommended by the task force. The department will also conduct a special audit to find out the actual number of discretionary allotments made after January 1, 1995. The modalities of implementation of the report submitted by the task force on land allotments will be worked out in consultation with the law department and the Advocate General. The report will be made available on the website of the general administration department.