Sambalpur Development Authority plan approval fraud: Lens on more architects

It is believed the absence of senior authorities in the organisation has led to alleged mismanagement in the SDA.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

SAMBALPUR:  After at least seven people including two Sambalpur Development Authority (SDA) staff and an architect were arrested in connection with the fake building plan approval fraud, a few more architects of Sambalpur city are now under police scanner. 

Sub-divisional police officer, PK Sahu said, “Not much details can be divulged at this point. Our investigation is on. Whoever is found involved will be arrested.” According to reports, on August 22, as many as five persons including a dealing assistant of the SDA, Laxmi Narayan Samal were arrested by the police in connection with the issue of fake approval for building plans, following a complaint lodged by a planning member of SDA, Bandita Mohapatra at Khetrajpur police station of the city. 

However, during the course of the investigation, another complaint was filed by a victim who brought allegations against SDA staff Bandita Mohapatra, Laxmi Narayan Samal and an architect Manas Chaini and said that he was given a fake plan approval for which he was made to pay around ` 2.60 lakhs. Subsequently, Mohapatra was arrested on September 7 and the architect was arrested on September 9. So far 10 cases of fake building plans have already been registered at Khetrajpur, Ainthapali, Town, Burla, Dhanupali and Burla police stations. 

Police sources informed us that at least three more architects are currently under the scanner. On the other hand, the SDA which has been facing acute staff shortage does not have a chairman. The post has been lying vacant since 2019. Although the collector holds the position of the vice-chairman, her involvement is not quite active due to other responsibilities. 

It is believed the absence of senior authorities in the organisation has led to alleged mismanagement in the SDA. Even the website of the SDA has not been updated since last more than five years, depriving residents from getting authentic information and making them more vulnerable to middlemen and dubious officials.

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