Land record scam: Is your land safe in Odisha?

Land record scam

Bhubaneswar: Though the Centre has termed digitisation of land records as a ‘game changer’ with far-reaching benefits for the people, the involvement of a company for the e-registration work in Odisha by the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government that is allegedly involved in scams across India has raised concerns among general public.

Odisha government had signed a 5-year agreement with IL&FS for digitisation of land records in 2014. Later, it was extended for two more years and this year again the company has been signed up for the e-registration work.

Surprisingly enough, in 2014, a CAG report found irregularities to the tune of Rs 20.52 crore in 5056 cases by the firm. The CAG then asked the government that on what basis did it signed the agreement with IL&FS which has no prior experience in developing automation software for property registration.

IL&FS is accused of around Rs 1700 crore scam in road construction work in Nagaland. It is also allegedly involved in a Textile park scam in Rajasthan. Besides, the company is also accused of minting hundreds of crores in Madhya Pradesh by converting government land into private.

On being asked over the issue, Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty said, “I don’t know when IL&FS was given the tender. I will check the details if it is involved in any scam.”

“Government had floated the tender for the e-registration through a transparent bidding process. Nothing has come to our notice related to irregularities being done by the firm. If anything like that comes to fore, the government will take the requisite actions,” said Revenue Secretary Chandrasekhar Kumar.

On the other hand, a lawyer Binaya Narsingha Mohapatra said he believed it as one of the biggest tender fixing case in the State.

“Government officials are involved in the fixing otherwise the concerned firm’s would not have been roped in to oversee the tender process. Tenders were submitted though the software of IL&FS,” Mohanty said.

It is worth mentioning that, last week, Orissa High Court issued stay order on e-registration of land documents as Information Technology (IT) Act is yet to be amended by the State. It had been alleged that online registration of deeds without amendment in IT Act, Evidence Act and Registration Act is illegal.



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