No norms,Orissa govt gave away 464 acres in capital: CAG

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in the Assembly on Friday has found that the state government has,between 2000 and 2012

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Published: April 8, 2013 3:21 am

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in the Assembly on Friday has found that the state government has,between 2000 and 2012,allotted 464.479 acres of government land in Bhubaneswar in 337 cases without any policy,procedure,regulation,rules or manuals. The benefit recipients includes a former Union minister and the cardiac surgeon who had operated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2009.

This was revealed in the performance audit of the general administration department done by CAG. The department is the nodal agency for administering government land in the state capital. Though the government claimed land was allotted under the Government Grants Act,no rules were framed under the Act.

“There was no uniformity in disposal of applications,sanction of concession on premium to be paid,changes in land use plan and resumption of encroached land,” the report said. Land worth Rs 84 crore is still under encroachment by individuals and organisations like Nalco,Bhubaneswar Development Authority,several hotels and a school.

The audit found that former Union minister Dilip Ray’s Mayfair Hotel was allocated 10.237 acres of land in less than two years without the department checking the land use plan. The department allocated “forest land” without the MoEF’s nod.

Revenue and disaster management minister Surjya Patro was allotted 1.01 acre of land in Unit-8 by changing land use zone from residential to commercial in 56 days. He was asked to pay Rs 50 lakh per acre against the commercial rate of Rs 75 lakh per acre. After one out of eight instalments,the allottee requested to change the lease in favour of Hotel South Pac Private Limited,a firm promoted by his family members. The lease was cancelled in November 2012 as Patro’s family could not construct any hotel.

The department allocated 10.63 acres to Dr Ramakanta Panda’s Asian Hospital and Research Centre between February 2005 and March 2008 though the hospital was neither registered nor had it any land use plan. Panda headed the team of 11 doctors who had performed a bypass surgery on the PM.

The CAG hinted at favouritism by the department citing instances when it allocated land in record time for hotels while for individuals and schools the same took years. In several cases GA Department allotted land flouting the land use zone policy,the report said. The CAG audit also found that some organisations were given concession in land premium while others were denied without any set rules.

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