Land dispute deprives slum dwellers of tenant rights

Five-decade-long land dispute between PPT and State Govt yet to be settled

Published: 17th May 2018 03:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th May 2018 06:07 AM   |  A+A-

Survey being conducted at a slum in Paradip

By Express News Service

PARADIP: Uncertainty looms over the implementation of Odisha Land Rights for Slum Dwellers Act, 2017 in Paradip Municipality as the five-decade-long land dispute between  Paradip Port Trust (PPT) and the State Government is yet to be settled.

The municipality sources said there are 25 slums in the Port Town. Around 80 per cent of the population of the town numbering 59,216 households, lives in slums. Most of them live in informal settlements with no legal tenant rights. Basic amenities such as drinking water, sanitation, electricity, roads and livelihood options are still a distant dream. Non-regularisation of unauthorised colonies and lack of proper implementation of housing projects in slum areas have added to the woes of slum dwellers. At a time when the State Government is gearing up to provide land rights to urban slum dwellers under the Act ahead of urban local body (ULB) elections this year, the civic body here is struggling to implement the provisions of the law.

Activists of Basti Basinda Surakshya Samiti have raised their doubts over implementation of the Act due to delay in settlement of land records between the PPT and the Government. They said after intervention of the Orissa High Court in 2015, it was decided to transfer or alienate 4,356.03 acres of land in Sandhakud, 1,477.38 acres in Bhitaragarh, 57.73 acres in Bijayachandrapur and 394.40 acres in Nuasandhakud without any lease in favour of the PPT.

Similarly, 1,237 acres of land, which were acquired by PPT, have been identified as vacant or unused. It was decided to hand over these land to the State Government for different projects. But no step has been initiated to execute the decisions so far. Dispute over the ownership of land has made the matter worse as both the PPT and the municipality authorities are laying claim and counter-claim over the land, they alleged. Meanwhile, the civic body has started survey in 25 slums using drone cameras to prepare geo-spatial data and map of the municipality for land records management.

A senior officer of Paradip Municipality said survey work would turn meaningless as the dispute over land ownership is yet to be settled. The municipality has identified nearly 230 acres of land in Kansaripatana area near Sandhkuda for providing land rights to slum dwellers. But the land is yet to be transferred to the State Government, he added.Kujang Tehsildar Ramesh Chandra Panda said despite frequent intervention of the district administration, the PPT authorities are yet to transfer the identified vacant land to the Government.

RoR for leaseholders in Rourkela

Rourkela: Rourkela Tehsil administration has brought good news for those owning residential plots at Civil Township and Keol Nagar, but have not received the Record of Rights (RoRs) despite having lease deeds for long. At present, about 4,000 individuals have been allotted residential plots in Civil Township and Koel Nagar areas and most of them possess lease deeds and pay land revenue, but are yet to get the RoRs. Rourkela tehsildar B R Rath said as per the office records, such plots still figure in the name of Odisha Government and it often leads to discrepancies in maintenance of accounts of revenues received from the lessees. The residents also face difficulties to mortgage leased properties in banks. He said the local administration has decided to facilitate preparation of RoRs in favour of the lessees/ sub-lessees at nominal cost as prescribed by the Government. They have to apply in prescribed format with required documents and submit them to offices of Revenue Inspectors (RI) concerned. After due inquiry, steps will be taken to prepare the RoRs in the name of lessees/sub-lessees, he added.

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