Bolangir: Illegal acquisition of farmlands of poor farmers in and around the under-construction Lower Suktel Irrigation Project in Bolangir district has kicked off a row, a report said Thursday. The rich as well as land brokers are acquiring these farmlands in connivance with revenue officials, sub-registrar and town planning officials through fraudulent means and later selling them as housing plots to interested buyers. It is suspected that a large amount of money has been given as kickbacks to carry out this fraud. This has come at a time when a former tehsildar and revenue official in Bolangir district had to go to jail over land fraud. These land grabbers are alleged of violating the Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority (ORERA) rule and selling lands to people at very high prices than the market rate. They have increased the land price in comparison with the money paid to the oustees as compensation for the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project.
Meanwhile, the construction of the spillway and soil embankment of Lower Suktel dam is underway in the district, the report said. After becoming functional, the project will provide irrigation facilities to 40,000 hectare of farmlands from Magurbeda to Loisingha, Bolangir, Puintala in Bolangir district and in areas under Tarava tehsil of Subarnapur district on the downstream of Suktel river.
Reports said that poor farmers’ lands have been grabbed ahead of the completion of dam work. Rich people as well as land brokers are acquiring the lands of poor farmers under various pretexts and converting the ownership in their names. They are not even sparing the lands of people from the scheduled caste community. They are buying land in the name of a member of the community and later convert their status and ownership into the name of rich people through various nefarious means. A major racket is alleged to be involved in the land grabbing.
As a result, large tracts of farmlands have slipped into the hands of the builders till Satamail Square on Bolangir–Sonepur road, till Duragapali, Fasad on Sambalpur road, till Haradatal on Patnagarh road and till Sinkhaman on Titilagarh road. Land grabbing is not limited to the areas connected with the main roads.
Even the roadside lands in Khjenpali, Atagaon, Dumerpali, Khairapali, Budhisindhol, Bileisarada, Chandanbhati, Baidipali, and Sibatala have been illegally acquired by these land grabbers. All the roadside farmlands have been divided into housing plots with information plaques with ‘plot for sale’ written on them installed on the land. When contacted, Sub-Collector Kumar Nagabhusan said that action will be taken as per law if someone files a complaint in this regard.
Leave a Reply