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Mining mafia grabs Lingaraj land

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Govt officials provide protection

BHUBANESWAR: Even as urban areas have been expanding in the capital city Bhubaneswar and the State Government is on the search for more land to accommodate the growing population and teeming migrants, some powerful people are flouting all norms in nexus with some unscrupulous Government officials to grab prime land. 

Even Lord Lingaraj’s properties have not been spared by the land grabbers.  It is no surprise that II6.370 acres of Lord Lingaraj’s land in the city is under encroachment, said the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report on General and Social Sector for the year ended March 2020.

But the matter of concern is the Lingaraj Temple Trust Board and the Executive Officer are not taking adequate measures to safeguard the property of the Lord.

In an example,   the the State Government had stopped the overnight constructions by a mining contractor’s wife on a patch of land (Plot No. 54/ 286), on the the Biju Patnaik Airport road under the Airport police station in the capital city, which is owned by the Lingaraj Temple Trust. The land was sold off despite the matter being sub-judice.  

The former Revenue Secretary Bishnupada Sethi had also said the aforesaid land of Lord Lingaraj was recorded in the name of private persons through false affidavits. Sethi had also asked the Khordha district Collector, who is also the Chairman of Shree Lingaraj Temple Trust to refer the matter to the Crime Branch for investigation into the wrong recording of land.

The Collector was asked to make a detailed verification of Lord Lingaraj’s property and furnish a status report. But despite this a sale deed was issued in the name of Prabhakaran’s wife.

But the Tesildar and other officials turned a blind eye to Debottar property grabbed at a stone’s throw distance from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence Naveen Niwas.

But following media reports a hue and cry was raised by the members of the BJP and Congress.   The opposition parties alleged that the prime land worth Rs 50 crore , owned by Lord Lingaraj was sold illegally to Tamil businessman B Prabhakaran’s wife for a paltry Rs 6 crore.

Following the protests, the Revenue and other concerned officials on the directions of the Member, Board of Revenue had clamped Section 144 of CrPC, put up red flags, dug a trench and posted notices to stop the construction work.

However, surprisingly now constructions are again being carried out with JCBs and other machines on the same plot at late night brazenly flouting the law. This has raised many eyebrows as how the Government rules are being openly flouted in the heart of the city and why the authorities are silent over it.  

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