Thousands of Slum Dwellers demonstrated and submitted Memorandum demanding Land Patta in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack
On 5.10.16, thousands of Slum Dwellers hailed from 30 Slums of Bhubaneswar, capital city of Odisha and Bhubaneswar organised Rally and Demonstration under banner of Odisha Basti Sangharsh Samiti at Lower PMG demanding land patta . A five member delegation led by Kailash Pradhan, Basti Leader of Shantipali Basti submitted 2400 applications collected from different Bastis to Chief Minister demanding early supply of Land Patta to Slum Dwellers. Besides that they also submitted memorandum appealing to Chief Minister to frame Land Policy for Slum-dwellers, reservation of land for poor as per Odisha Govt. Land Settlement Rules, 1983 and recovery of land from the people who have encroached or illegally acquired or taken multiple plot by filling false affidavit.
The Rally was addressed by Pradip Pradhan, eminent RTI Activist, Sri Prafulla Samantary, Convener of Lokashakti Abhijan, Sri Pratap Sahu, Convener of Basti Sangharsh Samiti, Sri Sachikant Pradhan and many Slum leaders of different Bastis like Kailash Pradhan, Sushma Singh, Gourahari Nayak, Rajani Das, Muna Das etc.
In memorandum submitted to Chief Minister, the Slum Dwellers have highlighted their plight and suffering for years together due to sewerage problem, bad sanitation, lack of drinking water, electricity, road connectivity etc. Though they have been staying in slums since 30 to 40 years, the Govt. has not considered allotting land in their name. Rather, they have been forcibly displaced by the police and administration several times in order to give land to corporate house or business people. Due to Govt.’s apathy, they do not have permanent address. Now, the Govt. will destroy 24 Bastis for Smart City and plan to settle slum dwellers in small apartment houses constructed under Rajiv Awas Yojana renamed as Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana. This arrangement is not acceptable to Slum Dwellers, as a family cannot be accommodated in that so small house.
In support of their demand, they have also stated that the State Govt. has allotted land to Ministers, MLAs, Officers, Private Educational Institutions like KIIT , NGOs, Temples, Mathas at subsidised rate or free of cost. Citing few examples, they have pointed out that Achyut Samant led KIIT has been allotted 150 acres of Govt. land at highly subsidised price out of it 85 acres of land acquired by Achyut Samant is illegal. Similarly Loyala School has been allotted 12 acres of land free of cost. DAV School, Sai International School and Private Medical colleges have been allotted land at subsidised price. The State Govt. has sold 58 acres of valuable land to DLF company in Chandaka area at throw away price.
If all the rice people, Ministers, MLAs, Officers have been allotted land, then why slum dwellers will not be allotted minimum “40 x 30” sq. Ft. Land in Bhubaneswar. The State Govt. should follow the same legal procedure to allot land to slum dwellers.
The Rally led by Slum leaders and Social Activists started from Lower PMG and reached at lower PMG covering Raj Mahal.