BALASORE: Even as six years have passed since the Centre decided to establish an Army base and a training institute in the district and sought allotment of land, the State Government is yet to oblige. All that the Odisha Government has done so far is convening three high-level meetings at the Secretariat in Bhubaneswar.
The matter was discussed at a meeting chaired by Principal Secretary of Home Department at the Secretariat on February 7 last year when the latter confirmed that the State Government had already issued no objection certificate (NOC) for acquisition of nearly 1500 acres of land at Amarda road. But no tangible progress has been made since then.
The Army requires two patches of land measuring 1500 acres each for establishment of Infantry Brigade at Dhamra and Training Establishment at Amarda road.
The Centre had decided to set up the Army training base at Amarda road in 2008 due to its proximity to the abandoned air strip at Rasgobindpur, nearly 10 km from the proposed place of the institute.
The then collectors of Balasore and Mayurbhanj too had written to the tehsildars of Basta and Rasgobindpur to identify the land. But, both the district administrations reportedly chose to sit over it without doing much on the land acquisition front.
Again in 2010, General-Officer-Commanding (GOC), Central Command JK Mohanty met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Secretariat and requested him to provide the required land. The Chief Minister had assured him of extending all cooperation including provision of land.
Amarda is close to NH-60 on State Highway-61. It is about 15 kms west of Jaleswar and nearly 50 kms from Baripada.
After the decision was taken for the Army base, a team of officials of Airports Authority of India (AAI) had visited places in Mayurbhanj district last year to look into land acquisition for the proposed airport at Rasgobindpur.
While at least 300 acres of land with the runway of 1.5 km length are required for development of a mini airport, the abandoned airstrip spreads over 160 acres. A part of the airstrip has been encroached by the locals, which needs to be made litigation-free.
Incidentally, both the projects are marred due to delay in land acquisition. Balasore in-charge Collector Akshay Mohanty and Basta Tehsildar Bhabatarana Sahu expressed their ignorance over the proposed Army base.
They, however, assured to discuss the issue with land acquisition officer and other officials concerned and speed up the process.