Tension in Puri over fencing of govt land

Puri: Tension prevailed in Sipasarubali area along the sea beach near here today following protest by local people against fencing of a government land. "Some people claiming to be landless, are demanding that the government land be allotted to them instead of fencing it", Puri district collector Arbind Agrawal said.

A total of 1307 acres of government land was restored from a family in Sipasarubali Mouza under Brahmagiri tehsil in November last year and fencing work was continuing. Senior officials including revenue divisional commissioner (central range) Arabind Padhee, revenue secretary Tara Dutta, district collector Agarwal and superintendent of police Anup Sahu visited the spot today during which the locals opposed the fencing in a particular area.

"The fencing work will continue from tomorrow as usual", Agarwal said. Meanwhile, Beach Council of Odisha, an organisation spearheading an agitation for protection of the beach from land grabbers said there were 3,400 acres of government `Anabadi` sandy land under `Sabika Records` in 1927 in Sipasarubali mouza under Brahmagiri tehsil of which 2879 acres were "illegally" allotted to 66 businessmen by some revenue officials in 1977.

Council`s president Jagannath Bastia said after the matter came to the notice of the state government in 1994, an inquiry was ordered to restore the illegally allotted land. But during 1977-1994 land transfer was continuing and the figure had risen from 66 to 539 persons. The government had filed cases against 539 persons.