Diversion of forest land in favour of KISS kept in abeyance

Bhubaneswar: Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram has directed Odisha Chief Secretary and Khurda Collector to keep the process of diversion of forest land in favour of Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS) in Bhubaneswar in abeyance.

“It is understood that you have initiated the process to hand over the revenue forest land to KISS. You are advised to keep the process in abeyance till the required clarification is received in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and formal clearance is issued in the matter,” said the letter received by the Chief Secretary office on June 21.

It added that complaints have been received about proper compliance with the Forest Rights Act (FRA) while processing the proposal. The Ministry has separately sought clarifications from the State government in the matter.

Khurda Collector Chanchal Rana confirmed having received a letter from the Ministry regarding a patch of land, involving KISS. “I am not aware of the status of the land or whether it has been given to KISS. We will study the entire matter and try to understand it. We are taking the matter seriously and will also seek clarification from the department concerned if needed,” he said.

In August 2021, the office of DFO and Wildlife Warden, Chandaka Wildlife Division, had sent a letter to the Khurda Collector for necessary action on the proposal for diversion of 4.032 hectare of government revenue forest land in favour of KISS for development of education facilities for the tribal students.

On March 9, KIIT and KISS founder Achyuta Samanta, in a video message, had also informed about diversion of the forest land in its favour on February 26 this year after 17 years of efforts and thanked the central and state government for their support.

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