Monday, April 8, 2013

‘Odisha Gave Undue Benefits to Posco India’

press trust of india
BHUBANESWAR, 7 APRIL: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has accused the Odisha government of extending undue benefits to South Korean steel major Posco in allotment of a piece of land in the state capital here.
“The company extended undue benefit in allotment of land, disregarding zonal regulation and charging of premium at a reduced rate,” the CAG in its latest report tabled in the Assembly yesterday said.
The CAG observation was made based on the performance audit on the land allotments by the state government's General Administration department headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The auditor has come across widespread irregularities in land allotments.
The CAG report said that the country arm of South Korean Steel major POSCO-India had applied for allotment of a plot measuring 12,000 square feet for its Chairman-cum-Managing Director's (CMD) residence-cum-guest house in 2006.
However, later it enhanced the requirement twice to 25,000 sq ft in April 2007 and later 2 acres for the same purpose.
“Though the same area was earmarked in the Comprehensive Development Plan of the Bhubaneswar Capital city for commercial use, the company was allotted 1.700 acres land in January 2008 at a premium of Rs 25 lakh per acre against prevalent market value of the land of Rs 64 lakh per acre resulting in a loss of Rs 66 lakhs to the state government,” the CAG has observed.
The CAG report also observed that the land was lying vacant till June 2012.
“The company, thus, was extended undue benefit in allotment of land disregarding zonal regulation and charging of premium at a reduced rate,” the CAG said in its report.
CAG raps govt for other arbitrary land allotments

BHUBANESWAR, 7 APRIL: The CAG has rapped the Odisha government for allotting valuable land here without any proper policy for the past 12 years.
The latest CAG report for the year ending 31 March 2012, that was tabled in the Assembly yesterday, said the General Administration (GA) department allotted 464.47 acres in Bhubaneswar in 337 cases during 2000-12 to individuals, government offices, government undertakings and private bodies for establishment of hotels, hospitals, educational institutions and NGOs. Of the 464.47 acres, NGOs/organisations were allotted 183.44 acres by the department headed by Mr Naveen Patnaik.
“Although the GA department was entrusted with the management of this land since 1952, yet no rules, regulations, manuals for allotment of land have been framed by the department for the past 60 years ... The department has no comprehensive data on total land available, allotted and encroached upon,” the report said. A test check of 164 cases of the total 337 found that the process of land allotment lacked a defined policy and procedure and absence of any rule or criteria gave room to arbitration in allotment. Of the cases checked, 63 pertained to other than government parties. Of these, 16 applications for land were disposed off within a year while in the rest delays ranged from a year to 24 years, it said. pti

Source: The Statesman, 8 April 2013

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