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Dilip Kumar

Paralakhemundi: The Government of Andhra Pradesh has reportedly encroached upon a land once owned by the king of erstwhile Paralakhemundi royal family and one of the architects of modern Odisha, Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati.

On the sidelines of the celebration of the 130th birth anniversary of the former king on Monday, local residents and intellectuals of the Parala town have alleged that the Andhra government has built a school on the land by claiming it as its own.

They said the Odisha government has done precious little to honour the king even as the matter has been brought to the limelight much earlier. Moreover, other educational institutes set up by the king during his period have been also left unattended by the government.

“Government of Andhra Pradesh has been running a school on the land in the name of Gajapati Krushana Chandra Maharaja. We have taken the matter to the State government many times, but it has expressed inability to reclaim the land. It is an utter insult to the iconic personality of our State,” said Purnachandra Mohapatra, a researcher.

Moreover, the State government has turned a blind eye to the development of the educational institutions established by the king, he added.

Local residents also expressed displeasure over the government’s silence on the issue.

“Being the residents of Paralakhemundi, we expressed immense grief that the Government has taken no step to honour the Gajapati, who was a pioneer in the formation of ‘Naba Utkal’. He was a rare multi-talented and affectionate ruler,” said Surjya Narayan Patnaik, a local intellectual.

On the other hand, the district administration expressed inability to take back the land as the matter is sub-judice.

“The contribution of the king towards formation of special statehood is incomparable. The land on which the Andhra Government is functioning a school is a 50—60- years old matter. The case is also sub-judice. There is no clarity on the land record as I have personally reviewed its status,” said Anupam Shah, Gajapati Collector.

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