Land grab by godmen: RDC seeks report

Bhubaneswar: The State government today asked collectors of 10 coastal districts to gather information on landholding by different religious ashrams.

The revenue divisional commissioner (RDC), central zone, B K Mohapatra in separate letters to the 10 district collectors ordered that the details regarding the ‘godmen’ in their respective areas and their landholding should be submitted within 15 days.

The RDC also asked the district administrations to immediately initiate action against ‘godmen’ found grabbing land and building temples and other facilities over government land.

The districts which have received the RDC order are — Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Mayurbhanj, Balasore and Bhadrak.

In a separate missive, the home department has also asked all superintendents of police to keep a vigil on the activities of the self-styled godmen in their respective districts, officials said.

The state government’s action in this regard came after arrest of Santosh Kumar Roul alias Sarathi Baba in Kendrapara district, and Surendra Mishra alias Sura Baba at Jhinti in Khurda district.