Cuttack: Orissa High Court has ordered
that status quo be maintained over 1000 decimals of land,
stated to have been acquired by Puri Municipality way back in
1985 for the purpose of expansion and beautification of
`Swargadwar` crematorium in the seaside pilgrim town.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and
Justice B N Mohapatra passed the interim order on Thursday while
adjudicating over a PIL filed by Nationalist Lawyers? Forum
alleging that over half of the acquired land has now been
encroached upon by the land mafia, hoteliers, transport
agencies and political big shots.
The High Court also asked the state government to file
a status report of the said land following a fresh affidavit
made by the petitioner advocate Nishikanta Mishra pointing out
that he has documents showing at least names of five persons
who have encroached over 100 decimals of land.
Mishra submitted six relevant documents in the court
claiming that the 1000 decimals of land belonging to Lord
Jagannath temple was transferred to Puri municipality in two
phases between 1985 and 1995 when the present Panchayat Raj
minister Maheswar Mohanty was Chairman of the municipality.
Mishra further maintained that out of the 1000 decimals
of land transferred to the civic body, nearly 536 decimals is
now under encroachment while the state claims that the entire
transferred land is now under the possession of the civic
He also went on to allege that while the process of
land transfer was completed way back in 1988, the municipality
doesn?t have any record of rights (RoR) of the acquired land
while efforts have been made by the encroachers to obtain RoR
in their favour.