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BDA talks transparency
Move follows plot bungle

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 1: The development authority will put documents related to allotment of plots and houses on its website, having burnt its fingers in the discretionary quota issue.

This was among the major decisions the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) took on its 32nd foundation day today. It has decided to upload files of the applications and documents, including the affidavits in PDF format, attached to them, so that the public can monitor them and provide feedback.

The move comes in the wake of severe criticism over allotment of more than one plot or house to several beneficiaries under the discretionary quota by the authority. Under the Orissa Development Authority Act, 1982, an individual cannot own more than one plot or house in Bhubaneswar from any government scheme floated either by the general administration department, development authority or the Odisha State Housing Board.

Citing an example, vice-chairman Krishan Kumar said: “If there are 100 plots in a development authority housing scheme and once the applicants are shortlisted, we will upload all documents of all the applicants and add 25 or 50 in the waiting list. Once the 100 shortlisted applications are scrutinised both by the authority and the public and some of them are rejected, the people from the waiting list will be eligible to apply.”

Apart from the post-application scrutiny, there would be provisions to build a software in such a manner that in case of any reference to allotment in favour of the applicant in previous case, the application will be disqualified automatically.

Senior officials of the development body think that it will take around 12 months to upload and file the documents available on the public domain.

The development authority has allotted 11,235 houses, 5,846 plots and 2,851 commercial properties in the city.

However, before going for the digitisation, all procedures and processes would be codified, so that there will be reference to the mistakes and the punishments for committing such mistakes.

“We have to take every department into account before arriving at a comprehensive software solution to make our administrative process transparent,” said the vice-chairman.

The development body has estimated that around Rs 4 crore would be needed to arrive at a foolproof comprehensive software solution network in the authority as departments such as planning, engineering, finance, allotment, administration and architecture would have to be integrated through it. But as the vice-chairman has the power to permit investment only up to Rs 20 lakh, the CSS project has been referred to the state government.

“We have written to the state government that at a time when an ordinary project could run into several crores of rupees, the cap on spending up to Rs 20 lakh by the vice-chairman needs amendment for effective and quicker decision-making,” said a senior official.

On the proposal of the development body to put all allotment documents in public domain, Nayapalli resident Bijay Mishra said: “This proposal sounds very transparent like we see the affidavits on the website of the Election Commission of India. But, how far the development body is going to implement it in a serious manner remains to be seen.”

Reacting to the introduction of the transparent services, Kumar said: “All things cannot work in isolation, and for that, we need a year.”

People will also be able to apply online for government documents and the authority is in talks with private banks for this.

Axis Bank has been shortlisted for a possible tie-up for its payment gateways.

A payment gateway is a service through which a credit or debit card transaction is processed for payment through the IT-based methods.