मंगलवार, 13 दिसंबर 2016

Memorandum submitted to Chief Secretary, Odisha demanding  Land Patta to Slum-Dwellers  in Bhubaneswar, capital  City of Odisha

On 5.12.16,  a  Civil Society delegation  submitted memorandum  to Sri Aditya Prasad Padhi, Chief  Secretary, Govt. of Odisha  demanding  allotment of land/plot to Slum-dwellers  residing   under Jurisdiction  of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation  (BMC)  and  discussed  with him  about possible modalities to carry out this work, if the Govt. took it as policy decision.  It was suggested   to State Govt.    (a) to  undertake  thorough  exercise  to identify  the eligible  slum-dwellers  in different slums  in Bhubaneswar and  lease out   atleast  900 sq. ft. of  land to each family  following the procedure  which has been made  while allotting land to IAS, IPS officers, Ministers, MLAs  etc., (b)  recover  thousands of acres of  land  illegally acquired  by  influential persons, private  bodies  in the city,  (c) undertake comprehensive land planning by  dividing  land into  five categories  and reserving land  for  slum-dwellers  in different locations of Bhubaneswar, as per Odisha Govt. Land Settlement  Rules, 1983, (d) enactment of new land  recognizing  the  property right of Slum-dwellers  in slums of  urban areas  following Central Govt. Model Act, 2011, (e) frame  a comprehensive Slum Development Policy  recognizing  right to Slum-dwellers  to  access land  in urban areas. The members of the delegation were Sri Pradip Pradhan, Pradip Pradhan, Social Activist and Advisor to  Bhubaneswar Basti Unnayan Parishad, Sachikant Pradhan, Convener,  Core Committee Group of Civil Society Member and Slum-dwellers, Pratap Kumar Sahu, President, Odisha Basti Sangharsh Samiti, Bhubaneswar, Ranjulata Mohapatra, Convener, Bhubaneswar Basti Unnayan Parishad, Sanyasi Behera, Institute of Social Work and Research, Jogendra Dakua, Chairman, Tapoban Lane  Basti Unnayan Trust. 

Background  of  the Demand  for  land  by Slum-Dwellers
Since last few years,  Bhubaneswar  has witnessed   migration  of  large number of poor people   from rural areas  in search of  employment  and settled  in slums  unauthorizedly for  their  living.   The State Govt. as well as Municipal Corporation has  made  a lot  of administrative arrangements in terms of providing basic amenities like drinking water, shelter, sanitation, electricity, road connectivity,  voter ID Card, Ration  card  to them  in order to ensure  better  standard  of living.

As per Govt. record, there are  436 identified  slum settlements  in Bhubaneswar  of  which  320  ( 73% )  are unauthorized  and 116 ( 27%)  are authorized.  The total slum population is  3,01,611  with  80,665 households  , indicating  an average  household size  of 4 members.  The size of slums  ranges  from 0.045  hectares to 18.31 hectares. , the smallest  being  Radha Kristan  Basti  in Ward 45  and the  largest  being  Khandagiri  Basti  in Ward 23.  The number of  households  in the slums  also vary, from  as low as  13  HH  in Rangamatia Basti  in Ward 9  to as high as  1,414 in Tarini Nagar  Salia Sahi  in Ward 16.  The Slums listed  cover  an area of  7.15 sq. km.   which is  3.9% of the total municipal  area ( 186 sq.km.).

The Slum-dwellers  are  seen staying in very wretched  condition with very bad sanitary environment.  They are  staying  in Jhumpudi , low lying area  located  along  roadside, rail line side  and managing their  family in small hut  with  much pain, sorrow and grief.  As  they do not enjoy any right over the land,   Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation  and BDA  displaced  and destroyed  these slums  in the name of development  or  handing over the land  to corporate  house.  It has become very common phenomena in Bhubaneswar.

As per  Odisha Govt. Land Settlement Act, 1967  and its Rules, 1983, the State Government is required  to  divide land in five categories  in urban areas making the land reserved  for   (a) Govt. offices and public purpose ,  (b) sale of land through auction, ( c)  house for middle class, (d) poor people.  (e) Small and Medium Scale Industry etc. But the state Govt.  has not yet kept the land reserved  for settlement of poor, slum dwellers in Bhubaneswar.  That’s why, a number of unauthorized Slums have been developed through out Bhubaneswar.

On the  other hand, following  the due  legal procedure of Government Grants Act, 1895 and Odisha Development Authority Act, 1981 , the  General Administration Department,  Bhubaneswar Development Authority, Odisha State Housing Board   have allotted  land  to a number of categories   of  Institutions like private educational Institutions, Hotels,  corporate house,  business institutions,  builders and Individuals like  political leaders, MLAs, MPs, Ministers, IAS, IPS officers, Govt. employees and many others.  Similarly  Many  rich, influential people, kith and kin of  the politicians  and bureaucrats  have been allotted  multiple plots under Discretionary  quota  and  through  filling of false affidavit by  the  then Minister  for  Housing and Urban Development, General Administration Department.  Many educational Institutions like Loyola School, DAV School, KIMS have been allotted land  free of premium or nominal rate. As per CAG report, Sri Achyut Samant, Founder KIIT  has  taken more than 100 acres of  Govt. land in Patia and Chandaka area through fraudulent means.  

As per Govt. record,  not  a single  slum-dweller has been allotted land  in Bhubaneswar till yet.  Since  years together,  they  have  been  demonstrating  to get a piece of land  in city   for their permanent  settlement  by way of organizing dharana and  rally  in front of assembly and submitting memorandum to  Chief Minister.  On 5th October 2016,   thousands of Slum-dwellers had organized massive rally and demonstration in front of   State secretariat demanding land patta over the land they have been staying since more than 30 years.  Around 2400 applications addressed to Chief Minister  have been submitted  to Chief Minister  for allotment of piece of land in their  favour.

 In a state-level consultation  on “Right of Slum-dwellers to access land  in Bhubaneswar”  held  on 28.10.16,  the representatives of  different political parties,  Slum-dwellers, Civil Society Groups  and Social activists  like Sri Panchanan Kanungo, former Minister, Govt. of Odisha,  had echoed  their voice in  support  of demand of Slum-Dwellers   for allotment of land  patta to them. The participants had expressed their   concern over pitiable conditions of slum-dwellers and their wretched living standard in congested slums in an era of modern development.  The meeting passed an unanimous resolution that like Ministers, MLAs and Officers, the slum people are entitled to get a piece of land for their livelihood.  Allotment of land should be made following the same procedure adopted while allotting land to the individuals, business house etc.  

It deserves  to be mentioned  that  the State Govt.  has planned to allot  house  to Slum-dwellers  under Rajiv Awas Yojana renamed  as  Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.  But  building under construction   are found  very congested  with small rooms and not viable  for living of  a family. Many Slum-dwellers have expressed their concern and unwillingness to stay there. 

Right to get   land and shelter is the fundamental right of every citizen of the country.  Denial to shelter is the violation of Human Rights of the Slum-Dwellers. Keeping it in view, the Central Government   has issued a Model Act  to provide  for comprehensive property rights legislation  for Slum Dwellers in the country in 2011 which has not been enacted in our state.

Pradip Pradhan
Date- 7 .12.16

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