Odishatv Bureau

Sundergarh: Another self-styled godman has been charged with illegally encroaching upon land to the tune of 100-acre in Bindujharia village under Lephripara block of Sundergarh district.

Local villagers alleged that godman, Dola Baba of ‘Bindu Tapobhumi’ ashram has encroached upon 100-acre forest land in the name of opening an Ayurvedic hospital and has been carrying out illegal timber trafficking in his ashram.

Earlier, the villagers along with forest department officials had seized large amount of wooden planks and various documents during a raid on the ashram.

"He first bought land from us in name of opening an Ayurvedic hospital but since 2005 there has been no sign of the hospital. He should be evicted and the land which was fraudulently acquired should be returned to the villagers," said a local resident of Satjuria village, Sarat Chandra Nayak.

"He is carrying out various businesses here. People are still in the dark about his occupation and if anybody says anything against him he threatens them with curses. He is exploiting the villagers with superstitions," said another villager, Bikash Kumar Nayak.

The villagers have also alleged that all government schemes are implemented in the area only on the instructions of Dola Baba.

However, Dola Baba refuted the allegations saying, "Locals would have placed the wooden planks in the ashram to charge him with illegal wood trafficking business. We had bought some wood with permission of the forest department for which we have the documents. We have not done any forgery, everything has been done by taking govt permissions and following due procedures."

Amid such allegations, the district collector has instructed the sub-collector to conduct a probe on and submit a report.

"Villagers had submitted their allegations against Dola Baba to the collector. An enquiry committee has been formed and we had also discussed about it with the DFO. The probe will be completed this week. While the DFO will file a case on charges of wood trafficking, we will initiate the eviction process if the ashram is found to have been built on encroached government land," said sub-collector Birasen Pradhan.