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Another scam rocks state

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 25: Another land scam — this time related to hospitals and nursing homes — has hit the state government in its face even as it tries to wriggle out of the BDA and the Ghangapatna forest plot controversies.

The state government, which had allotted land to individuals and institutions at subsidised rates to set up hospitals and nursing homes in the city, does not have any clue to the whereabouts of 13 of 44 beneficiaries.

This has been admitted by the director of medical education and training (DMET) of the health department. The proposed institutions have not come up at the allotted land sites, DMET officials have pointed out.

In order to promote health-care system in the state, the government had allocated land to 44 individuals and institutions in prime localities of the city between 1981 and 2009. While 21 of them have set up nursing homes and hospitals on the allocated land, no one knows about the remaining 13 organisations and individuals.

The 13 persons whose whereabouts remain untraceable had taken nearly eight acres of land, whose market value at the current price would be not less than Rs 80 crore, sources said.

In a letter to the health secretary, director of medical education and training (DMET) said: “Out of 44 allotees, 21 are running their nursing homes and hospitals on the land provided by the general administration department. The whereabouts of 13 allotees are not known to this Directorate.”

The DMET has begun a probe into the status of these medical institutions after the health and family welfare department on July 24 notified the names of the 44 allotees, who had got the land at subsidised rates asking them to provide free medical treatment to patients belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category.

Joint director, DMET, Umakanta Satpathy said: “As per the law, those who are running nursing homes and hospitals have to register their names with us. But while verifying the records, to our astonishment, we have not found names of 13 who have taken land from the general administration department to set up hospitals and nursing homes. We don’t have any idea what has happened to the land allotted to them. The general administration department will look into the issue.”

People were given land in prime areas of the city such as Saheed Nagar, Jayadev Vihar, Paika Nagar near Stewart School, Kharavela Nagar, Dumduma and Chandrasekhapur.

However, the general administration department, which is under scanner of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for allotting land without following a proper land policy, is yet to take a call on this issue.

“We will order a probe into this. If the land taken by them for a particular purpose has not been utilised properly, the land lease will be cancelled. The government will take over the land,” said a senior official of the general administration department.


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