Bhubaneswar: Expressing strong displeasure over non-compliance of report on the alleged improprieties in government plot allotment, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has threatened to invoke Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 against the state government.
“Issue reminder to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, directing him to submit the required information/documents within four weeks, failing which the Commission may invoke Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 which led summoning for personal appearance. A copy of the Proceedings dated 15.10.2015 be also forwarded to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, for ready reference that Govt. have been taking appropriate action against illegal allotment of Govt. land as well as houses of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) and Orissa State Housing Board in the past years”, the recent ruling by the rights panel iterated.
The NHRC had earlier taken cognizance of petition moved by Sangita Swain, secretary of Angul-based ‘Human Rights Watch’. The petition alleged that Odisha government had perpetrated gross improprieties by allotting government plots and houses to undeserving and ineligible applicants misusing discretionary quota system. The government act was in complete repudiation of apex court ruling dated March 31, 1995.
Though illegal housing plot allotment scam grabbed the limelight more than two years back, the government is apparently going soft on those who had used their clout to corner residential properties under the discretionary quota (DQ) in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The beneficiaries included influential politicians, top bureaucrats besides mediapersons.
As many as 1791 allotments were made under the discretionary quota during the course 1995-2011. While 803 allotments were doneby Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), 921 by Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) and 67 by Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB).
Rules were flouted with impunity. 54 influential sections were allotted multiple properties. While 18 were allotted more than one property by BDA, 32 were done by CDA. Four others got DQ properties from all three agencies – BDA, CDA and OSHB.
With his much-vaunted clean and transparent image at state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was apparently forced to scrap the discretionary quota in 2011. However things have hardly made headway with little coercive action against the beneficiaries who are yet to part with their Discretionary Quota plot largesse.