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Poultry body faces existence threat

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 29: The Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO), eastern region, near Jayadev Vihar is facing a threat to its existence with the state government demanding more land from the institute, mainly to facilitate the development of a major sports complex located nearby.

Sources said that irked by the continued nibbling of the institute’s land by the state’s sports and youth services department, the Union agriculture ministry, the parent ministry of the CPDO, might move the institute to another state. Surprisingly, the 50 acres in the possession of the institute in the heart of the city is yet to be registered in its name.

Neighbouring states have shown interest in housing the CPDO. The CPDO (eastern region) caters to the poultry development and related research needs of all the seven northeastern states, apart from Odisha, Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar.

The department is trying to develop Kalinga Stadium adjacent to the CDPO as a sports complex. In 1985, 14 acres were taken away for the stadium’s expansion, and three months ago, the department demanded more land, 1.8 acres at first, which was later increased to five acres to set up a world-class hockey stadium inside the Kalinga sports complex.

The government has sought another five acres from it for the development of Vidyut Marg. Sources said the institute, as compensation, had been promised 16 acres at Sijua.

Sources said that as a quid pro quo, the state government is thinking to provide an alternative site for the institute, which had 50 acres, when it was established here in 1959. “We are losing land because of the state government’s wrong policies. The state authorities have decided to provide us with land at Mallipur, nearly 6km from Khurda. But, the site has a huge water body emerging from an illegal stone quarry,” said a CPDO scientist.

An institute such as the CPDO avoids water bodies because they attract migratory birds that might carry avian viruses. Officials of the state government have not even shown any inclination to fill up the water body.

Ever since the organisation came into existence here in 1959, CDPO officials had been seeking land records for the plot, where the institute stands. But, the government is yet to respond to the string of letters written by them.

After the department sought five acres from them to build the hockey facility, the CPDO officials went to check documents with the tehsildar of Bhubaneswar and Puri. But, they were referred to the central record room in Cuttack. There they were told that senior revenue officials from Bhubaneswar had taken the documents and that the land was still not registered with the CPDO.

Sports secretary Saswat Mishra said there was a plan to shift the institute to a place away from the city as it constituted a “health hazard” at its present location near the Kalinga sports complex.

“We have shown them a place near Khurda, but a team of experts is yet to arrive from New Delhi to inspect the site. We have to wait for their opinion,” said Mishra.

However, a CPDO scientist said the government was supposed to build the entire campus and hand it over to the institute.

“But now, they want to share the burden on a fifty-fifty basis. This has irked the Union agriculture ministry,” he said, adding that in the past, several states had shown interest in housing the CPDO with Chhattisgarh showing more eagerness than others.

“If Odisha does not act in time, its neighbours may gain,” he said.

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