ROURKELA: On the direction of the Orissa High Court (HC) on the proposed Rourkela Municipal Corporation, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department has decided to include seven slum pockets in the corporation limits.
Disposing a PIL filed last month, the HC had directed the Department and Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) to take a decision on inclusion of slum pockets located in the area of RSP, considered as ‘no man’s land’, within two weeks of receipt of the order.
PIL petitioner Niranjan Das said a special messenger delivered a letter from the Director of Municipal Administration and Ex-Officio Additional Secretary Sanjeev Mishra to him on Wednesday evening. The letter stated that the RSP authorities have agreed to exclude Nabakrushna Nagar, Tala Balijodi, IDL Colony, Gopabandhu Nagar, Bhanja Colony, Bada Sonaparvat and Dharamdihi from their jurisdiction. A committee led by RDC (north) would be formed to assess the possibilities of including left-over slum pockets in ‘no man’s land’ in the proposed corporation limits, the letter stated.
Administrative sources said the Rourkela Municipality excluding the captive township of RSP has a population of around 2.74 lakh, which is 26,000 short of the criteria required for corporation status.
The State Government now has to take quick decision to either merge six adjacent panchayats or include left-over slum pockets on RSP land to pave the way for formation of the corporation.
In first week of February, Sundargarh district administration had recommended for inclusion of six panchayats in view of long term development prospect of the city and prevent unplanned growth and encroachment. But a sizeable section of tribal population of the panchayats protested against the move.
Sources said three petitioners had filed a PIL seeking direction from the HC to the Government to include areas on ‘no man’s land’ including Tumkela, Hamirpur, Luakera and slum clusters of South Rourkela located on the land of RSP under the RN Pali Assembly constituency. These areas neither come under municipality nor panchayat administration.
In-charge Collector RN Mishra, however, said the administration is yet to receive any such communication from the HUD Department.