CUTTACK: With the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) seemingly siding with encroachers in the wake of eviction notice issued to deputy mayor Damayanti Majhi among many others by Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO), the much-awaited transformation of Jagatpur Industrial Estate (JIE) into a model MSME hub of Odisha, a prime project of Naveen Patnaik government, is under threat of derailment.
While the CMC had no qualms about demolishing slums and encroachments at many other places in the city, the confrontational approach over removal of a slum from one of the oldest industrial estates of Odisha to pave way for its development has raised many eyebrows.
“There is no chance of eviction of any slum without the consent of CMC as the civic body is the enforcement agency. First we will hold discussion with the slum dwellers about their relocation and rehabilitation and then the process of eviction will be taken up,” CMC Mayor Subhas Singh said.But, on many earlier occasions, the slums and illegal settlements were removed in sudden operations and the evicted families had to spend years on the roadside before their rehabilitation plans were put in place.
In the present case, the IDCO has served notice to 143 persons in the Balisahi including the newly-elected deputy mayor’s mother to recover the encroached land. Interestingly, Mayor Subhash Singh said, Damayanti was offered an official quarter but she declined and preferred stay in the slum where additional constructions at her house like a boundary wall were being undertaken.
Considering the long-standing demands of the MSMEs, who are facing acute infrastructural problems in the estate, IDCO has prepared a blue print to develop it as a model industrial estate by chalking out several developmental and welfare projects. Around 500 MSMEs are operating in the estate, which is providing direct and indirect employment to around 10,000-plus people.
Sources said, IDCO has total 237 acre of land in the estate which is sufficient for carrying out the developmental and welfare projects. But, as many as 40 acres are said to be under encroachment. However, IDCO is facing opposition from the CMC, which has alleged that the industrial infrastructure agency had not informed the civic body before issuing eviction notice. On the other hand, IDCO has clarified that there is no need to take permission for evicting encroachers from its own land.
“We had put up eviction notice to remove the unauthorised and illegal constructions by May 10. But, with instruction of higher authority, the eviction process has been postponed for the time being in view of the possible cyclonic storm,” said IDCO divisional head Parikhita Mahalik adding that as per the law eviction will be carried out after a few days.