Ramakanta Biswas

Puri: The controversy pertaining to the alleged sale of Bagala Dharmasala land in Puri to private parties intensified further with social activists alleging that the Odisha government has furnished false and misleading information in its affidavit submitted in the Orissa High Court.

The State government in an affidavit had stated that the land in question was acquired by it on request of one Kanheiyalal Bagala for the purpose of construction of Dharmasala in 1901 and subsequently the land was taken into possession after the construction of the Dharmasala on it.

The affidavit was filed as a preliminary counter affidavit in response to the PIL filed by BJP national spokesperson, Sambit Patra seeking intervention in alleged sale of Bagala Dharmasala land.

However, questions are being raised as to which government in Odisha had acquired the land from Kanheiyalal Bagala in 1901 as history says Odisha came into being in 1936 and the first government was set up in 1937 under the leadership of Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati.

The government further mentioned in the affidavit that no record was available about the land as the record room (Mahafis Khana) caught fire in 1916.

"Which government had acquired the land, whether it was the British government, Indian government, Bengal government or Odisha government? Corrupts will never win and those telling lies will be booked one day," said Priyadarshan Patnaik, convener of Jagannath Sena outfit.

Senior BJP leader Pitambar Acharya said, "In response to a PIL filed by social activist, Jagannath Bastia, the State government said that it has no information regarding Kanheiyalal Bagala. In the second affidavit, the Odisha government is claiming that it had acquired the land for construction of Dharmasala in 1901. How the records were gutted?"

Jagannath Bastia who had filed the first petition in the Orissa HC opposing the sale of Bagala Dharmasala land said the claims made by the State government that it has no information regarding Kanheiyalal Bagala was false.

Bastia claimed that as per information obtained from Puri Tehsildar through RTI, it was mentioned that Lodging House Fund Committee had obtained the land from Kanheiyalal Bagala for the construction of the Dharmasala in 1904. The construction work had begun on the same year and was completed in 1905, the RTI reply revealed.

"Puri Tehsildar furnished false affidavit in the Orissa High Court. However, the RTI reply from the Tehsil office clearly mentioned that Kanheiyalal had constructed the Dharmasala and handed it over to the then Collector and Lodging House Fund Committee," said Bastia

Bastia further said that land provided in Matitota Mouza for construction of another Dharmasala is completely unsuitable, contrary to the claims made in the affidavit filed by the Tehsildar.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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