Pradeep Pattanayak

At one end of the spectrum, three members of one family allegedly misappropriated lakhs of rupees by showing a single house as three. Then on the other end, an actual beneficiary has sought permission for euthanasia alleging government apathy. 

Both incidents were reported from the Khordha district. The district fisheries officer of Khordha sanctioned Rs 2 lakh each to three beneficiaries of Basant village under Haladia Panchayat in Khordha block to construct a warehouse in the financial year of 2018-19. The same department also sanctioned another Rs 10 lakh to one of the aforesaid beneficiaries under the fish pond yojana. 

Surprisingly, the beneficiaries were members of one family identified as -Bichitrananda Jena, his wife Ananya Routray, and their son Biswajit Routray. 

Three plaques mentioning their names as 3 separate beneficiaries were put up on the 3 different walls of the single warehouse to pass it off as 3 different warehouses. Besides Rs 16 lakhs, the family also received the benefit of a 50% rebate.  

Here, the question arises as to how the three members of a single family were shown as beneficiaries. 

“While members of a single family are receiving benefits by greasing the palms of the officers, many actual beneficiaries are still running from pillar to post to get a house. An impartial investigation would reveal the truth,” said Santosh Kumar Rana, a local resident. 

When contacted, additional district fisheries officer,  Pratap Kumar Das said, “We will look into the matter and take appropriate steps.”
The beneficiaries’ reactions couldn’t be obtained as none of them were found at their house. 

Trinath Kumar Baral, a resident of Paikatigiria village under Tangiapada Panchayat of Khurda block, has a different story to tell. 

The soil conservation department identified Baral as a beneficiary under Khet Pokhari Yojana in 2021-22. After getting the work order, he started digging a pond on his agricultural land. The land turned out to be a stony one. Incurring expenses from his own pocket, he got the boulders removed. It was when he was erecting a boundary wall, the police came and seized the equipment used in removing boulders. 

Meanwhile, he has been doing rounds of the police station, Collector’s office, and SP’s office but to no avail. He said, if the work is not completed on time, the project would stand canceled. 

“If the government does not hear my grievance, I would end my life,” said Baral. 

When contacted, the project director of the Khurda Soil Conservation Department, Digambar Biswal said, “We don’t have information regarding him. If we receive any complaint, we will look into it and take all possible steps to help him out.”

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