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Pradeep Pattanayak

Palpable tension gripped Kabarapali GP under Jujumara block in Sambalpur block after an audio-video clip of a telephonic conversation purportedly between a contractor and the sarpanch over percentage commission went viral on social media platforms. 

Even though the exact time and date of the recording of the audio clip is not known, it is alleged that the female voice is of the sarpanch’s. She can be heard demanding her share of commisision from a contractor, leading to a verbal duel between them. In the viral video clip, the sarpanch can also be seen arguing with the contractor on finalising PC amount.  

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A protest broke out at the panchayat office on Saturday soon after the audio and video clips went viral on social media platforms. On getting information, Jujumura block development officer (BDO) reached the spot only to face the ire of angry protesters. Accusing the sarpanch and panchayat executive officer of indulging in various irregularities, the protesters demanded action against them and also pushed for a probe into the allegations. 

Kshirod Sahu, a contractor, alleged that Tilottama Bag, the sarpanch of Kabarapali gram panchayat, has been demanding PC from him. “The sarpanch is demanding a 15 percent commission to pass the bill. Though I agreed to pay her the amount, I haven’t given the money as yet,” added Sahu. 

Similarly, a local resident Sarat Chandra Sahu accused the sarpanch and panchayat executive officer of being mired in corruption. “We demand an enquiry into the allegations and exemplary action against them,” he demanded. 

The agitation was called off after the BDO assured the villagers that a probe will soon be ordered. 

On the other hand, the sarpanch Bag termed the allegations as baseless. “I have not done anything illegal. The contractor and other villagers were forcing me to allow illegality and when I refused to oblige them, they conspired behind my back to settle a score" she said. 

Jujumura BDO Saroj Biswal also held a discussion with the sarpanch and the panchayat executive officer in connection with the case. 
“A team has been formed to conduct a probe into the allegations and if they are found true, stringent action would be taken against whomsoever found guilty,” maintained Biswal.

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