State to give property rights to slum dwellers

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the urban polls slated early next year, state government has decided on new legislation for development and rehabilitation of slum dwellers who constitute about 25 per cent of the urban population in the state.

Once the bill was passed in the assembly, people living in slums would have rights over the place where they were living over the years without any authority.

A proposal for introducing the Odisha Property Rights to Slum Dwellers and Prevention of New Slums Bill, was approved by the state cabinet on Tuesday night, housing and urban development secretary Injeti Srinivas said.

Slum dwellers would be given accommodation in apartments and could be provided houses after shifting at certain places, the provisions of the bill said.

“Mandatory reservation of 10 per cent of built-up area for economic weaker sections and low income groups housing in all apartments and group housing schemes is also part of the bill,” said Srinivas.

A slum dweller could not be evicted before in-site settlement or resettlement except as provided in the proposed legislative measures, he said.

A state Slum Redevelopment and Rehabilitation Authority with the chief minister as the chairperson would function as the state level apex body for effective implementation of the proposed legislation.

“Of about 70 lakh urban population in Odisha, slum dwellers constitute 25 per cent. Of the 8 lakh people in the state capital, over 3 lakh live in slums,” Srinivas said.

State would be the second state in the country after Jammu and Kashmir to bring such a legislation, he said.