Bhubaneswar, Oct 8 (UNI) Two Congress leaders from Puri District have sought Orissa Governor Muralidhar Chandrakant Bhandare's intervention into the ''illegal'' land acquisition process for the proposed Vedant University by the Anil Agarwal Foundation.
In a memorandum to the Governor, Congress leader and former MLA Uma Ballav Rath and Pradesh Congress Committee member Ajit Kumar Mangraj alleged that the acquisition of 10,000 acre of farm land on the Puri-Konark marine drive had started for Vedanta University in violation of the High Court directive.
They said the land acquisition started even though Orissa High Court while adjudicating a PIL had recently observed that there were too many flaws in the MoU and had stayed the acquisition of land.
The Congress leaders wondered why the state government was so much interested in acquiring the land when the Centre had imposed ban on the acquisition of agricultural land in the name of private organisation.
They further stated that nearly 30,000 farmers and labourers spreading over 22 mouzas largely depending upon the land for their livelihood would be homeless and unemployed, if their land was acquired for the University.
Mr Rath threatened that thousands of farmers would take to the streets and agitate if the acquisition was not stopped immediately, and alleged that the acquisition deal seemed to be mysterious as initially an MoU was signed between the state government and Vedant University but later the deal was made between the state government and the Anil Agarwal foundation.
The Congress leaders said they were not opposed to the setting up of the university in the state and suggested the government to set up the university somewhere in undeveloped Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) districts, where large patches of land had been lying unutilised.
Apprehending that the possible stand-off between the government and the farmers over the land acquisition might create law and order problem, the two Congress leaders urged the Governor to intervene.