Govt orders probe into RAY irregularities in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: A month and half after the chief minister inaugurated newly constructed houses under the Rajeev Awas Yojana (RAY) at Mahishakhal here, the Housing and Urban development department has ordered the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities to probe the alleged irregularities in the selection of beneficiaries in the urban housing scheme.

The Urban Development department order came after a complaint in this regard reached the office of the chief minister, sources said. Besides, some genuine beneficiaries deprived of the benefit have moved High Court in this regard, the sources added.

According to the complaint made to the CMO, the names of eight relatives of the deputy mayor K Shanti, including her father, mother, brother and sister, and 37 government employees figure in the beneficiary list. Besides, 14 people having their own pucca houses and seven others who have land in Bhubaneswar tehsil area have also registered their names to get the free government house.

Deputy Mayor K Shanti, who had earlier termed the allegation false, has refused to comment this time citing that an investigation is underway.

“This is a completely false allegation. They are trying to create indiscipline among us for which they are making ‘hallabol’ over it,” she had said when the allegation was made.

Local residents, on the other hand, have demanded a fair inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the government scheme meant for the poor.

“The poor and real beneficiaries have not been provided with houses under the scheme. Only government officials and relatives of politicians have acquired it. Truth will come out if a fair probe is carried out,” said Niranjan Behera, a local resident.

BMC mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said that investigation is underway and the fake beneficiaries would be punished as per government guidelines.

“We are investigating following the letter of the Urban development department. Around eight have returned their houses in Mahishakhal. The relatives of the deputy mayor have applied for deletion of their names from list”, Jena said.

“Those who have availed houses by providing false information and have not surrendered the same, would be punished as per norms,” he added.

Notably, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had inaugurated the houses for 80 families under the urban housing scheme on June 13 in the presence of Urban Development minister, Bhubaneswar MP, mayor, deputy mayor and some government officials.