BARIPADA: Land owners and home aspirants in the district are facing a harrowing time as their applications for land conversion and building plan approval are hanging fire due to absence of Special Planning Officer (SPO) for nearly seven months now. The post has been lying vacant after the last SPO Bijay Kumar Bhuyan was transferred on June 30 last year. As a result, applications for various land-related issues and plan approvals have piled up and the continuing uncertainty over appointment to the post is giving no solace to the hapless people.
Official sources said more than 800 applications relating to land conversion and 500 building plans are pending in the office as off now. The inordinate delay in clearing them is hurting the applicants hard, both financially and mentally. Collector Vineet Bhardwaj admitted to the situation and stated the SPO of Balasore has been given the additional responsibility of the district. As the in-charge SPO visits the office only once or twice a week, disposal of files have been seriously affected. People from across the district are coming the Special Town Planning Office at Murgabadi here and have to leave dejected as their applications are not disposed off.
Subrat Kumar Sahu, a resident of Kalimandir Sahi here, said his building plan has not yet been approved owing to which construction of his house has been delayed. As per records, the Special Town Planning Office has approved 7,842 housing plan since its inception in 1984 to June last year. The Collector said he has apprised the higher authorities of the matter.