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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government might be boasting its Jaga Mission for homeless and poor people in urban settlements as 'world's largest' slum land rights project, but the alleged lapses in its implementation in the State have now spurred the Opposition to call it an absolute farce.

It is alleged that, in a last mile initiative, the State government is leaving no stone unturned to provide liveable habitats to people with an aim to take mileage ahead of the general elections, but the execution of the scheme has significantly deviated from the track.

Based on the allegations, OTV carried out a ground zero review of the situation at some areas where the scheme was implemented. For example, Anjana Das, a resident of Godhibasa village under Balasore municipality had received a beneficiary certificate under the Jaga Mission about six months ago but she is yet to get land patta. The condition of one Kusum Patra of the same village is also same.

In Swapneswar Sahi under Khurda municipality, around 85 landless people have receieved certificates of land right but more than 200 deserving people of various areas like Bhaliajadi, Gurujanga, Mukund Prasad and New Bus stand are anxiously waiting to be included under the scheme. They allege that the survey officials asked for money to get them enrolled in the scheme.

“They (government) assured us that we would be provided land pattas and handed pieces of blue papers. Now we don’t understand what to do with these papers,” said Kusum.

“The officials, who had come for survey, asked us to deposit money to get land pattas,” said Snehalata Behera, a resident of Khurda.

Moreover, the State government recently announced that it would provide land right certificates to 5000 landless people of as many as eight districts. However, during a recent programme in Kalahandi, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik distributed land certificates to only six beneficiaries. This apart, when the Jaga Mission was announced, the government had claimed that the total number of beneficiaries was around 10 lakh, but it is now claiming that the figure has touched around 18 lakh.

While the Congress has criticised the State government terming the scheme a 'mockery', the BJP has gone a step further and announced its own scheme to provide land pattas to 20 lakh landless people of the State if voted to power.

BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said that the scheme has pushed people into a state of ambiguity as, by using the blue papers, they are neither getting any kind of loans nor banks are accepting those papers.

Congress leader Bibhu Prasad Tarei said the scheme is limited to only pen and paper and far from effective implementation. “The State government is using these papers, so called certificates under land rights for promotion purpose only. Deserving beneficiaries are yet to get any benefit from the scheme,” he said

However, BJD spokesperson Debi Mishra said, “At places where random cases of irregularities have been observed, the State government is ensuring that action is taken at the earliest. But it's improper to say that the scheme is ineffective."

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