Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik returns land given by Odisha

Bhubaneswar, May 25 (IANS) Internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik Saturday said he has returned a piece of land the state government had allotted him in Odisha as he was not allowed to construct on it.

Pattnaik said the state government had given him about half an acre of land at the district headquarters town of Puri, his home town, about 56 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, in 2011 for setting up a sand art park of international standards.

"I was very happy when this land was given to me, but I was shocked when I looked at the terms and conditions, according to which I cannot put up any construction on it," Pattnaik told IANS.

"I wrote to the government a number of times seeking a change in the terms and conditions, but got no response. I had no choice but to return the land," he said.

The sand artist Saturday met Puri District Collector Naba Kumar Nayak and returned the land allotment order.

"I wanted to create a sand art gallery and a training centre, and that would require some construction. Besides, the land which was given to me was also far away from the beach, in a residential area. I should not keep land which I cannot use for my purpose," the artist said.

Pattnaik, 36, has participated in more than 50 international sand art competitions across the globe, and won many accolades. He recently won the Danish grand prize at Copenhagen, where he sculpted with sand on the theme "Go Green, Save Earth".

Puri District Collector Naba Kumar Nayak said his administration would re-examine the issue and move higher authorities for an appropriate decision in the matter.

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