Bhubaneswar: Opposition parties in the state have criticised the government for its U-turn over cancellation of land allotments under discretionary quota.
The manner in which the issue was handled and a vigilance inquiry was ordered five months after taking a decision to cancel the allotments suggest that these are just an eyewash and nothing else, they said.
"The government was buying time to destroy evidences against their party men and other people important for them. Now, they say, they would not cancel the allotments and give the persons accused of having grabbed premium plots under the discretionary quota a chance to be heard. This is just a gimmick", said Narasingh Mishra, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader.
On December 19 last year, the state cabinet had decided to cancel all allotment of plots, houses and flats, totalling 1,791, made under discretionary quota by Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Cuttack Development Authority (CDA), General Administration (GA) department and Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) since January 1, 1995 based on the recommendation of a task force headed by Taradatt, then additional chief secretary (revenue & disaster management).
However, no action was taken on the cabinet decision as the government was waiting for law department's suggestion to prepare the modality to carry out the task. The government on Saturday decided to do away with its earlier decision of scrapping all allotments and said, all allottees will be served a show cause notice to provide their genuine claims within a limited time period. Also, the vigilance will probe only allegations of multiple allotments under the quota.
"All necessary steps will be taken as per the modalities fixed by the law department and approved by the general administration departments. The BDA and CDA will be asked to provide all files to be probed by the vigilance," said Pushpendra Kumar Singhdeo, minister of state for housing and urban development department, which oversees the work of city development authorities. Opposition leaders suspected that the vigilance inquiry might not yield desired result as the files related to multiple plot/house allotments might have been destroyed.
"Since a lot of influential persons from the ruling party and state government were involved in the scam, I believe there is move to protect the culprits, instead of catching them," said Suresh Pujari, senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).