Barabati Palace, 23 shops on govt land: Cuttack tehsildar

Cuttack: Two days after the Supreme Court order in the case of encroachments by Odisha Olympic Association (OOA), Cuttack tehsildar clarified again today that the controversial Barabati Palace (marriage hall) and 23 adjoining shops have been constructed on government land and not the lease land of OOA.

“The land on which Barabati Palace and 23 shops adjacent to it are constructed had never been leased out to OOA. The marriage hall and the shops were constructed without government’s permission,” tehsildar Abanikant Patnaik told mediapersons.

He further clarified that a case regarding the encroachment was registered in 1991-92 and the then tehsildar had directed for eviction of all the business establishments on the encroached land. However, OOA filed a civil suit against it and the case subsequently reached Orissa High Court and later Supreme Court, Patnaik maintained.

However, demarcation of the place will be done again as per the SC directive and report will be submitted accordingly, he added.

The apex court on Thursday directed to form a judicial committee to probe whether the shops and the marriage hall near Barabati stadium have been constructed on encroached land or on the property owned by the State’s apex sports body.

The court also asked Odisha accountant-general (AG) to submit a report on the details of the fiscal transactions of Barabati Palace and the shops.

As per the court’s direction, the committee will be headed by Cuttack district judge while two additional judges will be its members. They will be nominated by the acting chief justice of the High Court. The committee will make an on-the-spot inquiry. The chief secretary and Revenue secretary have been asked to assist the panel in its inquiry.

Earlier, Orissa High Court had directed Cuttack district administration to take possession of Barabati Palace and the business establishments in November last year. This apart, the court had also asked the Crime Branch to investigate the activities of OOA.

Later, OOA had challenged the High Court’s order in Supreme Court.