Mrunal Manmay Dash

Slum dwellers in the urban areas of Odisha had a sparkle of hope in their eyes after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched Jaga Mission in 2017 promising to provide land rights to the urban slum dwellers.

However, even after six years of its launch and many surveys & modifications in the beneficiary list, urban slum dwellers are yet to get the record of rights.

For example, over 150 families residing in Ramadevi slum in Bhubaneswar had hoped to get land rights in their names after the launch of Jaga Mission. However, that dream remains unfulfilled even after six years.

“We have been living here for 55 years. Despite complaining multiple times, nobody cared to hear our pleas. Authorities are only cheating us by saying that they are conducting surveys and will provide us documents soon. But we never get any land,” alleged a resident of Ramadevi slum.

Speaking about the delay, Mahamaya Swain, President of the Slum Dweller Rehabilitation Committee said, “To alleviate fears from the minds of the beneficiaries that their names will be excluded from the list, CM Naveen Patnaik has stayed distribution of Land Right Certificates (LRCs) to beneficiaries.”

“He (CM) has ordered to conduct a thorough survey after which the LRCs will be distributed so that no eligible beneficiary is left out of the scheme,” Swain added.

The situation is no different in Balasore as well.

Ward number 10 of Balasore Municipality sports Jaga Mission hoardings in many places. The slum dwellers in the ward were hopeful of getting land rights following the launch of the scheme in 2016. Their hopes were reinforced in 2021 when a survey was conducted by the government to ascertain the beneficiaries. But they are yet to receive LRCs.

“We have been residing here for 60-70 years. MPs and MLAs come to our ward and promise us land rights before every election. But our situation does not change,” alleged Sarathi Mahanta, a resident of Ward number 10.

Meanwhile, the district administration has proposed to provide land to them at Remuna, which has been resisted by the locals as well.

Asked about the delay, Balasore Collector, Dattatreya Bhausaheb Shinde said, “Anybody can file an objection to the list. We are conducting the survey in a transparent way. Some people have resisted to move. We will not force them, in fact, we are in the process to make them understand the situation."

Similar allegations came from a slum in Mayurbhanj’s Karanjia. The residents of that slum are yet to receive land records despite getting certificates from the government in 2019 identifying them as eligible beneficiaries. Their dream of getting land in their name is yet to be fulfilled despite running from pillar to post.

The state government launched the Jaga Mission also known as the Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission in 2017. It is touted as the world’s largest slum titling and upgradation initiative. It is implemented based on the “Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2017”.

The scheme aims to provide land rights to eligible slum residents. It also includes the upgradation of physical infrastructure in slums like roads, drains, streetlights, sanitation, and clean water supply.

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