Union Minister Oram availed plots under DQ
Bhubaneswar: Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Odisha’s Forest Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh and state Tourism minister Ashok Kumar Panda are among 2,225 people facing cancellation of plots/houses or flats allotted by state government under discretionary quota (DQ).
“Yes, I was given a piece of land in Bhubaneswar by the government under the DQ. I am a tribal and do not have a residence in the state capital. If they cancel it, I have no other option,” Oram told PTI over phone.
The state cabinet in a recent meeting had decided to cancel all plots/houses/flats allotted since January 1995 to different persons under DQ. The decision was taken on the basis of the report of a Task Force headed by additional chief secretary, Revenue, Taradatt, that probed allotments under DQ.
Besides Oram, former Union minister Debendra Pradhan, who is father of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, was allotted a 2,400 sq ft plot at Prachi Enclave here.
The Task Force report has named a number of political leaders who had availed land or houses under DQ, including Odisha’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh, Tourism Minister Ashok Panda, BJD MLA Pranab Balabantray, BJD’s Rajya Sabha MP Kalpataru Das’s wife Pratima Das, BJD MLA Pravat Biswal, former minister and BJD MLA Pramila Mallick; Sobhamayee Dehuri, wife of MP Nagendra Pradhan, and BJD leader and minister Pradip Maharathy.
Senior bureaucrats who have availed the DQ include WaterResources secretary Pradip Jena, Forest and Environment secretary R K Sharma, former chief secretary B K Patnaik, IPS officer Satyajit Mohanty, IAS officers Nikunja Dhal, Vishal Dev, Bishnupada Sethi, Surendra Tripathy and Pramod Mohanty.
Since January 1995, Bhubaneswar Development Agency allotted 803 houses and plots under DQ in gross violation of norms, the task force report has stated. On the other hand, 921 houses and plots have been allotted by Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) to influential persons, some of whom have availed more than one land and house.
Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) has allotted 67 houses under DQ. The task force report has also stated that two then Housing and Urban Development ministers ? Bhupinder Singh and Samir Dey ? between 1999 and 2004, had allotted land and houses under DQ assuming that they were chairpersons of BDA and CDA though there was no government notification on their appointments as the head of these two authorities.