At a time when ex-servicemen are running from pillar to the post seeking a patch of land to settle down after wearing out their prime of the life for protecting nation’s boundary, the State government is sitting on vast patches of land paying little heed to applications.
Between 2000 and 2012, only 32 ex-servicemen were allotted land even though 2726 former defence personnel were identified to be eligible for getting land by State Sainik Board.
Bidyadhar Nayak, an ex-naval person, had gone through terrible experience while pursuing his case unsuccessfully since 1998.
Distraught over the indifferent attitude of State government towards ex-servicemen, when Mr. Nayak went on inquiring if any land was reserved for them, he came across heaps of information indicating that there were at least 1 lakh acres of land reserved for ex-servicemen in 51 tehsils.
“I was supplied information about 98,377 acres of land reserved for ex-servicemen in 51 tehsils. Had all 300 odd tehsils furnished information, the volume of land for ex-servicemen would have easily crossed 5,00,000 acres,” Mr. Nayak said.
At present, it seems the Revenue Department officials in association with district administration had diverted those land patches for other purposes including leasing out to influential persons and for mining purposes.
Ironically, several district administrations tried to dodge queries asked by Mr. Nayak under RTI.
“District administrations asked me to refer Bhulekh web solution to get clarified. Even for educated persons, surfing Bhulekh web solution and getting necessary information is a tough task. They had no clear information on status of the land reserved for ex-servicemen,” he added. Mr. Nayak said, “for war veterans of Indo-China and Indo-Pak wars, government had offered 5 acres of land. For ex-servicemen with rank equal to havildar or below the rank, there is provision of one standard acre. But, State government is blatantly violating the standing rules.” He demanded thorough probe into distribution of land reserved for ex-servicemen.
Mr. Nayak said the loathness of the State government on disposing of applications for land allotment for ex-servicemen speaks about its respect for jawans who sacrifice their lives for nation’s interest.