NGT issues notice to Centre, Odisha govt over KIMS’ forest land grab

KOLKATA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today served notices to Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) and Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) on charges of illegal construction on forest land in violation of Forest Conservation Act 1980.

The NGT issued notices to Odisha Chief Secretary, Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Union government and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) apart from KIIT and KIMS while conducting a hearing on a petition filed by social activist Dr. Subash Mohapatra in the matter.

The national green watchdog has directed the respondents to file their replies in the matter within four weeks.

According to the petitioner, KIIT and KIMS have in an unauthorized manner grabbed 55 acres of forest land in plot no. 516 in Patia mouza of Bhubaneswar.

The concerned land’s Record of Rights (ROR) is in the name of Idco.

But while transferring the said land to its name Idco has not obtained necessary permission from the Central government under the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act of 1980.

Later, medical college and educational institutions have come up over this piece of land, the petitioner has alleged.

The petitioner has further alleged in his petition that the State Cabinet has illegally allocated 10 acres of land to KIMS.

It is also alleged in the petition that the Revenue Inspector of GA department had inspected the land in question and reported that the entire area of 26.97acres including 10.779 Acres is surrounded by compound wall and used for medical college, hospital hostel, staff quarters, playground and other related purposes.

The RI further reported that construction work of some buildings are now under progress.

Earlier, Comptroller of Auditor General in its confidential report has observed that around 34.41 Acres of forest land against which no forest clearance from MOEF had been obtained so far(as of December 2012), while a hospital building and structures were constructed on such land in blatant violation of forest conservation act 1980.

“A hospital has been constructed illegally over the land without environment and forest clearance. Even the State Cabinet which doesn’t have jurisdiction has also granted it 10 acres of land to the institution. The NGT has served notices to the state government, Central government, KIIT Society and KIMS to file their replies within four weeks,” stated Dr. Subash Mohapatra.

“Since its forest land, the state government’s GA department had informed KIIT and KIMS authority not to undertake work without forest diversion proposal. GA department’s RI too had made a spot visit for verification and had communicated the matter to the concerned authorities but no action has been taken,” said Shankar Prasad Pani, petitioner’s lawyer.

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