CM Mohan Majhi orders District Magistrates to free government land from encroachers

CM directed the collectors to protect govt land after recovery from encroachers through suitable fencing and putting display board mentioning that unauthorised entry is a cognisable offence.
Odisha's Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi
Odisha's Chief Minister Mohan Charan MajhiPhoto | Express

BHUBANESWAR : Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi on Monday directed all district collectors to free government land from encroachments across the state.

Expressing serious concern over rampant unauthorised occupation of government land which has hampered development works and public welfare programmes, Majhi directed district administrations to take prompt action to evict the land grabbers.

He further directed the collectors to protect government land after recovery from encroachers through suitable fencing and putting display board mentioning that unauthorised entry is a cognisable offence.

A couple of days back, additional chief secretary (ACS) of Revenue and Disaster Management department Satyabrata Sahu asked the district collectors to conduct a survey to identify government land under encroachment in rural and urban areas and take suitable measures as per the law to evict the unauthorised occupants.

The state government does not have concrete data or record of the extent of public land under encroachment at present. The last estimation of unauthorised occupation and encroachment of government land was done around 13 years back. The then Revenue minister Surjya Narayan Patro had informed the Assembly in 2011 that the state government had identified a total of 2,42,519.092 acre under unauthorised occupation. The government had filed more than 3.26 lakh cases under the Orissa Prevention of Land Encroachment (OPLE) Act, of which over 1.81 lakh cases were disposed of and 91,734 acre recovered.

He had further said the department had prepared a draft bill to amend the OPLE Act and Rules to give more teeth to the law to free government land from encroachments. The state government had set up a special cell in the Revenue department to identify land grabbed by politicians and powerful people running educational institutions in the state capital. The department had recovered over 2,658 acre from the encroachers.

Although the existing law regulating land administration has become obsolete and there is an urgent need to amend the Orissa Land Reforms Act, the previous government had failed to bring reforms to deal with emerging issues.

A large number of landless people who have been allotted homestead land under Vasundhara scheme have not been able to take possession as they are under illegal occupation, official sources said.

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