Orissa land buy compensation kept in personal bank accounts

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its latest report (civil), for the year ended March 31, 2011, has slammed the state revenue and disaster management department for the irregular and non-transparent management of land acquisition (LA) compensation funds.

An audit scrutiny of these funds by CAG reveals 10 land acquisition officers (LAOs) had kept advance land acquisition compensation money, amounting to Rs 2,016.69 crore, in bank accounts, instead of depositing it as civil deposits under a government account.

“Ten LAOs, contrary to government instruction, had kept advance compensation money of Rs 2,016.69 crore received by them from requisitioning officers in bank accounts (savings, current and fixed deposits) as on March 31, 2011, instead of civil deposits, according to the government’s requirement. We also noticed the banks selected for parking the LA compensation funds were without any basis, and in some cases, the funds were kept in private banks,” the CAG said in its report.

The special LAO of Jagatsingpur, where mega projects such as those of Posco and Essar Steel are located, had parked Rs 1,933.35 crore in his bank account, instead of depositing it with the government. Similarly, special LAOs for Dhamra Port project in Bhadrak district and the Vedanta university project in Puri district had held Rs 6.28 crore and Rs 10.19 crore, respectively, in their bank accounts.

In addition, LAOs of Sambalpur, Ganjam and Kalahandi had held Rs 15.72 crore, Rs 7.74 crore and Rs 3.27 crore, respectively, in personal bank accounts.

The CAG has pointed out the Bhadrak LOA had retained funds amounting to Rs 27.50 crore received towards the cost of compensation and establishment charges in a single bank account, instead of maintaining separate accounts for establishment charges and depositing the advance money received in civil deposits as required.

According to the regulations, funds for the payment of land acquisition costs are to be deposited in advance by the requisitioning officers of different organisations with the LAOs, responsible for passing the award and making the payment of compensation to land losers.

Similarly, the CAG has also remonstrated eight LAOs had not deposited establishment charges amounting to Rs 21.55 crore in the government treasury.

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