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House erupts over ‘violator’ minister

Bhubaneswar, June 23: Much to the embarrassment of the government, the name of food supplies and consumer welfare minister Sanjay Kumar Das Burma appears in the list of 423 real estate developers who have violated building norms while constructing multi-storey apartments here.

A list of violators of land and building in the city, placed by the state housing and urban development minister Pushpendra Singh Deo in the Assembly on Friday, mentions that a case has been lodged against Das Burma relating to unauthorised construction of “buildings” on a plot of land in Bhimpur. The case, registered against Das Burma under the Odisha Development Authority Act, is pending with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority.

Minister Das Burma, who holds independent charge of food supplies and consumer welfare department, however, today clarified that he had resigned from the construction firm which had built the houses in 2006. He was one of the directors of the company.

“I resigned from Neelachal Builders on September 27, 2006. The housing and urban development department should have placed the information in the House in a responsible manner,” he said.

Das Burma’s clarification came after leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra raised the issue in the House.

“A peculiar situation has arisen in the state. One minister makes an allegation against another. Das Burma says he has left the construction company in 2006. But, the case was filed in 2007. If Das Burma’s statement is correct, urban development minister Singh Deo has misled the House. The government should clarify its position,” said Mishra, demanding a statement from chief minister Naveen Patnaik on the issue.

Congress members, who tried to seize the opportunity to embarrass the government, demanded the resignation of Das Burma in view of the allegations made against him by his own government.

An angry Tara Prasad Bahinipati rushed to the Well of the House and attempted to climb on the Speaker’s podium as he was not allowed to raise the issue.

Das Burma said: “The day I resigned from the directorship of the Neelachal Builders, I had informed the Registrar of Companies and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority. The housing and urban development should have checked the facts before placing the list in the Assembly.” Singh Deo, said: “I will examine the matter and inform the House accordingly.”


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