Bowing to pressure from students, the Orissa government has decided not to hand over land belonging to the Orissa State Transport Corporation in Berhampur to Reliance Retail. Instead it has decided to allot it to the Khallikote autonomous college for an expansion project.
The students of the college have been up in arms for several days demanding a withdrawal of the decision to lease out the land, which is located adjacent to the college, to Reliance Retail for establishment of a mall.
At least eight MLAs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party from Ganjam and Gajapati districts had urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to allot the land to the college authorities for the expansion of this institute.
"We have decided to give this land to the Khallikote College," Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Transport Department, PK Jena told Business Standard.
He said alternative land would be provided to Reliance Retail. The government had leased out two acres belonging to OSRTC, Berhampur to Reliance.
Besides, the government has leased out 17 acres of OSRTC land, lying unused in towns like Cuttack, Barbil, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Bhubaneswar, to Reliance Retail and also sold the OSRTC land at Baripada to the company.
The students, however, will not withdraw their agitation till the government comes out with the necessary notification cancelling the lease and transferring the land to the college.