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Saswat Singhdeo

Puri: The Odisha government has approved Rs 40 crore to speed up land acquisition and rehabilitation process in the 75 metre area that is being cleared near Srimandir in Puri. Land of around 18 Mutts and more than 250 buildings including hotels and shops will be acquired.

After the announcement of additional 10% incentive for voluntarily vacating property within one month of the government notification, more and more people are opting for the offer.

However, several Mutt chiefs and affected local residents have said that the sanctioned amount is not enough for the rehabilitation work and compensation for land.

Mahant (Chief) of Radhaballav Mutt, Ramkrushna Das Mahapatra said, "The amount sanctioned by the government is not enough as the valuation of Mutts will exceed the total amount."

"The State government should take adequate steps to ensure that nobody is affected financially," said a Puri resident, Madan Mohan Hota.

Speaking on the issue, district collector Balwant Singh said that as soon as land handover process is completed, cash will be deposited into the accounts of the owners.

"The funds will be released after proper assessment of buildings and completion of land acquisition," said Singh.

A social impact assessment survey following the decision to clear structures within 75 metres of the Jagannath temple in Puri is underway.

The survey was launched by the State Revenue and Disaster Management department on Monday.

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