Grabbing land of Lord Jagannath
Puri: No land, especially government owned land and lying vacant, are not free from the preying eyes of the land mafia active in the land of Lord Jagannath. Some unscrupulous land dealers, thanks to the willing cooperation of some revenue department employees, strange it may sound, have been able to transfer land just in front of the Swargadwar(Way to Heaven), the most pious crematorium in the state, against their own names. The district administration has been constrained to assure that action will be initiated against all the guilty persons involved in the sensational land dealing.
Swargadwar literally means the sacred way to the heaven. Age old Hindu belief has it that those cremated here find place in the heaven. That is the reason why the embers in the crematorium glow from morn till night. People from far flung areas bring near and dear ones for cremation here. The land mafia driven by greed have not spared the crematorium even.
Thanks to the unholy nexus among some unscrupulous employees land belonging to the Swargadwar are doled out to land mafia either on lease basis or being sold out completely. Ironically enough, the patch of land in front of the crematorium which is used as the approach road too has been grabbed by the mafia through conversion of land category. A resident of Puri town has already filed a case in the local court against the shady dealing.
Locals allege that the land area of the Swargadwar has been shrinking regularly due to the mafia menace. Some right wing Hindu organisations have started raising their voice against the shady deals and have threatened to launch agitations against the district administration and the government for not taking any action against the mafia nor the government employees hand in glove with the land dealers.
The sub-collector of Puri, Uddhav Chandra Majhi, however, assured that definite action would be taken against the manipulators. The sooner the best perhaps. Otherwise it might lead to an unhealthy situation for the admiistration as well as the government.