BHUBANESWAR: As conversion of forest land continues to pose a roadblock for execution of lease deed in favour of allottees of housing schemes of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB), the State government on Wednesday asked the Forest department to resolve the issue within a month.
People living in housing projects of BDA and OSHB in different parts of the city for nearly four decades are still not the owners of the houses due to multiple technical and administrative problems. Housing projects developed on forest land by the two government agencies are unable to execute lease deeds and transfer records of right in favour of the people who bought houses as the land is not converted to ‘gharabari kisam’, official sources said.
The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra. Considering the problems encountered by people who lived in BDA housing projects at Baramunda, Paikanagar, Kanana Vihar and Jaydev Vihar areas from the 1970s, he directed BDA to complete the forest diversion proposals in a month. The Forest department was asked to extend all possible assistance to the housing agency in this matter.
Mahapatra further directed the department to undertake compensatory afforestation (CA) against the forest land to be diverted. Additional district magistrate Cuttack and DFO Athagarh were asked to demarcate the land for CA out of the land already identified by the department of Revenue and Disaster Management (R&DM).
Around 2,000 households would be benefited by this intervention. The department was asked to identify degraded revenue forests and include those in land banks for CA so that no development project would stop for forest diversion issues.
Additional Chief Secretary R&DM Satyabrata Sahu said that the land bank for compensatory afforestation has already been created. Around 26,500 acre of degraded revenue forest land was identified in 18 districts last month. Keonjhar district contributed the maximum of around 10,800 acre of land.
While setting an ambitious target of bringing in about one lakh hectare of land to the fold of land bank for CA within a year, Sahu said that target was fixed to increase size of the land bank to 50,000 acre by March, 2022.