Odisha: Rampant encroachment by RMC and RSCL hinders growth of government college

Sources at GACR revealed that around 16 acre on the southern side were permanently taken, now hosting the Rourkela One complex of RSCL.
Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.

ROURKELA: In a glaring instance of public land misuse, a large portion of the Government Autonomous College, Rourkela (GACR) land has been encroached upon by the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) and Rourkela Smart City Ltd (RSCL), hindering the institution’s infrastructure development.

Originally possessing 51 acres of land when it was taken over by the government in 1963, GACR now retains barely 30 acres. Over the years, RMC has appropriated valuable parcels of GACR land.

Sources at GACR revealed that around 16 acres on the southern side were permanently taken, now hosting the Rourkela One complex of RSCL. RSCL, a special purpose vehicle formed to implement smart city projects, is primarily owned by the Housing & Urban Development department and RMC, which hold 90 per cent shares collectively, with the Rourkela Development Authority holding the remaining 10 per cent.

Due to a shortage of vacant government land in Rourkela, RSCL targeted GACR land, constructing the Rourkela One complex — comprising a Command and Control Centre (CCC), auditorium, convention centre, and tribal museum—on the college’s land at a cost of Rs 116.76 crore.

Furthermore, around 2021, the RMC encroached on an additional five acres of GACR land on the western end to temporarily relocate shopkeepers for the redevelopment of the Panposh Market Complex, another RSCL project costing about Rs 45 crore. Despite promises to return the land after the market’s redevelopment, temporary shops, an auto-rickshaw stand, a public toilet, and other facilities continue to operate on the encroached GACR land.

Last year, when the government initiated the transfer of land ownership to GACR, local revenue authorities urged the college administration to apply for the alienation of 30.145 acres of land in its physical possession. The college, however, applied for 35 acres.

On June 18, GACR in-charge principal Bijay Behera wrote to the Rourkela ADM, RMC Commissioner, and RSCL chief executive officer Ashutosh Kulkarni, urging the return of the five acres of land, as the Panposh Market Complex redevelopment is now complete. He stated the urgent need for land to facilitate expansion and infrastructure development, with the government having approved proposals for the construction of a 2,500-seat auditorium, an academic block, and hostels at a combined cost of about Rs 130 crore.

The principal noted the RMC commissioner has assured to vacate the encroached land on the western end.

LAND USAGE

  • Around 16 acre on the southern side were permanently taken, now hosting the Rourkela One building complex of RSCL

  • RSCL hold 90 per cent shares collectively, with the Rourkela Development Authority holding the remaining 10 per cent

  • The RSCL’s construction of CCC, tribal museum and convention centre was built on the collge land at a cost of Rs 116.76 crore

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