Balasore: It seems Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's promise for land pattas to all urban slum dwellers in the State under the Odisha Government’s Jaga Mission is more hype than benefits. And allegations leveled by thousands of slum dwellers in Balasore district who are still deprived of land rights make it more obvious.
On 15 November, 2018, Naveen inaugurated the slum land titling project and assured to distribute land rights to beneficiaries in phased manner. Accordingly, a drone survey was conducted in Balasore, Soro, Jalasore and Nilagiri towns of Balasore district to identify the slum dwellers.
As per reports, as many as 3,139 families were identified as slum dwellers in Balasore Municipality, 603 and 120 in Jalasore and Soro municipalities respectively. Similarly, 1,096 beneficiaries were identified in Nilagiri NAC making a total of 4, 958 beneficiaries who deserve to get land rights certificates.
While, out of the total, only 1,803 beneficiaries have been granted land rights in two phases so far, the left out beneficiaries are staring at uncertainty whether they would get their land pattas.
A slum dweller of Balasore Town, Sabitri Patra said, “I do not have anyone to look after me. My house is in a dilapidated state but I don’t know if I will get the patta for my land.”
“The concerned officials gave us a paper and assured that we will get land soon. Even after approaching the authorities on multiple occasions, they are yet to show us the place where we will be granted land to stay. The paper they gave us has no value,” rued another slum dweller, Kusum Patra.
More than 1,500 families living near railway lines and riverside areas of Godhibasa, Galapola and Badakhua in Balasore town alleged that the concerned administration has cheated them by handing them a piece of paper after conducting survey in the region.
As per government data till December last year, around 3,005 urban slum dwellers of Balsore will get pattas under the Jaga Mission. But, the concerned committee has decided to grant land right to only 281 homeless families. The development has sparked outrage in the region as locals are apprehensive that they will be deprived of their rights.
“This is a false scheme and whatever the government is saying is restricted to just slogans. The benefits of the scheme are not reaching people. The reports indicate that the State Government has failed to provide land to homeless people of the district,” alleged Sudarsan Das, an activist fighting for the rights of landless people.
On the other hand, Balasore Sub-Collector Nilu Mohapatra said that the process to distribute land pattas is underway.
“Distribution of land pattas is underway. We recently held a meeting at sub-divisional level and 281 cases of Balasore Municipality have been recommended. The district Collector will approve it and those will be granted land at the earliest. There are certain criteria and those eligible will be given the land,” informed Mohapatra.