Odisha to set up Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority

Bhubaneswar: Drawing bitter experience from several problems faced during land acquisitions, Odisha government has decided to establish Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority, a notification for which has already been issued.

The authority will be set up in all revenue divisions in the State for speedy disposal of disputes relating to land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement.

Sources said Odisha government has come up with such a decision after several industrial, rail and irrigation projects failed to take off due to land acquisition problems in different parts of the State.

As per the official notification, a district judge or retired judge will be appointed as the head of the Authority. The government shall also appoint an officer as Registrar from among the officers of Odisha Administrative Service (not below the rank of joint secretary).

“The Authority shall hear all the cases pertaining to issues relating to land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement,” informed Revenue Secretary, Chandrasekhar Kumar.

Moreover, in case of any complaint regarding functioning of the concerned office is reported then the State government will make a reference to Chief Justice of Orissa High Court for appointing a judge to conduct inquiry against the presiding officer.

Land acquisition has not only been a headache for the government, but individuals whose land has been acquired are also a harried lot.

Surendra Gadatia of Paradiapali village in Bolangir is staring at an uncertain future. Portion of his agricultural land was acquired for the Lower Suktel Project while the district administration also razed his house.

Though Surendra has received some amount for the land, he is yet to be compensated for his house.

“I had received some compensation which is not adequate,” said Surendra.