Bhubaneswar, Nov 14: The allotment of houses and land to individuals for the past several decades under the state’s discretionary quota has sparked off a major row in Odisha, with an anti-graft group Monday demanding they be cancelled.
Some local and national media outlets recently exposed the names of several political and non-political people who have been allegedly provided the land and houses in posh areas of the of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
The state unit of anti-graft group India Against Corruption (IAC) said all such allotments should be cancelled and the discretionary system should get abolished for ever.
‘Such corruption can be stopped only when we scrap this quota system. All the previous allotments should be cancelled,’ Nishikant Mohapatra of IAC told IANS. ‘The discretionary power has always been used for corrupt practices.’
The alleged misuse of discretionary quota came to light when Cobra Post, a web portal, and IBN Network earlier this month revealed how several former and sitting judges, bureaucrats and politicians received houses from the discretionary quota of ministers.
Some local papers subsequently exposed the names of several sitting state ministers and their families who allegedly availed houses through similar means.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his council of ministers tried to come out clean by posting their property details on the government website. However, the move added fuel to fire with opposition pointing errors in the list.
The opposition accused them of undervaluing the worth of their properties even as Patnaik and other ministers clarified there were no irregularities.
Dharitri, a local vernacular daily, Monday published a list of senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) officers who have allegedly availed houses on discretionary quota.
Citing official information, the paper said the present chief secretary, secretaries of different departments, present state police chief and police officers holding important positions in the government availed the quota.
The state government has not yet clarified on the latest revelation.