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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: The Revenue & Disaster Management Department has shot a letter to Jajpur district Collector Ranjan Das clarifying on the demolition of 'Rangasala'- the unauthorised guest house constructed over government land in Baligari village under Dharmasala Tehsil of the district.

Following proposals to renovate the building into a public library, orphanage or old-age home instead of demolishing the structure, the district administration had sought necessary clarification from the revenue department in this regard. The department, however, rapped the Collector citing that encroachment should have been evicted without seeking any clarification.

In the letter, R&D Principal Secy mentioned, "I am directed to say that the OPLE Act, 1972 and the OPLE Rules, 1985 provide for eviction of unauthorized encroachments. All such encroachments except those by homesteadless and landless persons shall end up with eviction only. There is no provision for alternative use. On the other hand, the Rules specify that after confirmation of the order of forfeiture, the property is to be sold in public auction and the sale proceeds are to be credited into the treasury. Normally, no Collector seeks clarification on such an obvious issue of unauthorized encroachment. Hence, the encroachment should have been evicted without seeking any clarification."

"From the media reports and the discussions in the OLA, it is learnt that an unnatural death has happened in the said building. The criminal investigation might be in progress by the concerned agencies. However, while seeking clarification, you have not brought it to the notice of this Department. But in the instant case, demolishing the building without clearance from the competent court and investigating agencies may result in compromising with evidence," the letter stated.

"You are, therefore, advised to take the leave of the concerned Court and the investigating agencies before taking appropriate steps to demolish the unauthorized structure constructed over the government land. Once that is obtained, you may take steps by observing all formalities laid down in the OPLE Act, 1972 and Rules, 1985 to evict the encroachment," added the letter.

Meanwhile, the Jajpur District & Sessions Judge today rejected bail plea of Haridaspur sarpanch’s husband Rupesh Bhadra, the prime accused in connection death of Smitarani Biswal, the lady village level worker (VLW) & in-charge panchayat executive officer (PEO) of Haridaspur in Jajpur district.

Reportedly a month ago, Smitarani's body was recovered from ‘Rangasala’, which was illegally constructed by Rupesh Bhadra on government land, while an investigation into the case is still underway.

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