Odisha Lokayukta sends notice to officials over alleged encroachment by institute

Petitioner says prime land was taken over by institute founded by BJD MP

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Lokayukta has issued notices to the State Chief Secretary and Director of Estate in connection with an alleged encroachment of 12 acres of prime land by the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Training (KIIT) founded by Biju Janata Dal MP Achyut Samant.

The Lokayukta issued the notice on a petition filed by Pradip Pradhan, a Right To Information (RTI) activist, who alleged that the 12 acres worth ₹250 crore were taken over by the institute in an unholy nexus with the General Administration (GA) Department of the State government.

“In the past six years, I have been filing RTI applications to Department of General Administration to access the information about the parcel of land leased out to KIIT. The department has been avoiding providing information. However, following intervention by Odisha Information Commission, the GA Department provided the information,” said Mr. Pradhan in his petition.

“Having seen KIIT promoted by Mr. Samant acquiring such huge land, the GA Department had filed a case under the Odisha Public Premises (Eviction of unauthorised occupants) Act, 1972, in 2012 and ordered eviction. But, no action has been taken to bring the land back to government record and no legal action has been initiated,” he alleged.

Mr. Pradhan levelled grave charges and said, “Though officials in GA Department were aware about the encroachment, they have not taken any action due to Mr. Samant’s close proximity with officials of the Chief Minister.”

Earlier, the petitioner had also filed a complaint with the Chief Minister’s Office seeking an inquiry into the ‘illegal’ and ‘unauthorised’ occupation of government land by KIIT. The complaint was forwarded to the GA Department for perusal.

Though the KIIT had applied for lease against the land to the GA Department several times, the land parcel had not been leased out to the institution, he said.

“The land has not been leased out to the institute, but a multi-storeyed building has already been constructed there. Besides, the institute has constructed a boundary wall around the land,” the petitioner charged.

Mr. Pradhan pleaded for the intervention of the Lokayukta for returning the land to government records.

Besides the Chief Secretary and GA Department officials, R.N. Dash, KIIT secretary, has been served notices and directed to respond to the petition within six weeks.

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