Odisha to Grant Land, Property Rights to Slum Dwellers

The state government's decision will likely benefit about three lakh residing in 3,000 slums across the state.

New Delhi: In what Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik called a ‘historic’ move, the state government on Tuesday, August 8, decided to grant land rights to slum dwellers in small towns and property rights to those residing in city settlements.

According to The Telegraph, the state’s move will likely impact the urban body polls scheduled for 2018.

The Odisha cabinet approved the enactment of two ordinances to amend the existing law, becoming the first state to grant land rights to the urban poor. “The urban poor in slums will get land rights for residential use that are heritable, mortgageable and non-transferable,” Patnaik told reporters in Bhubaneswar. “As far as practicable, efforts will be made to provide these rights on an in situ basis.”

According to a Times of India report, the Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Ordinance, 2017, assures land rights to the urban poor households in municipalities and notified area councils (NACs) while the slum dwellers in five municipal corporations would be granted property rights under the Odisha Municipal Corporation (amendment) Ordinance, 2017. The property, however, will remain non-transferable. “It can be transferable after ten years only to eligible beneficiaries. We have Aadhaar card and other data base to check the authenticity,” chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi told The Telegraph.

The state government’s decision will likely benefit about 2-3 lakh residing in 3,000 slums across the state. Flats will be given to slum dwellers in the five corporation areas of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Rourkela and in the 107 municipal councils and NAC areas, the beneficiaries will be given land, The Telegraph reported.

Mahendra Parida of the rights group Bhubaneswar Basti Basinda Mahasangha told the Thompson Reuters Foundation that the government’s decision was a welcome step, however, several uncertainties remained. “The government has yet to properly identify all slum dwellers… so not all the urban poor will benefit,” he said.

While people in the economically weaker section category will get the benefit of no cost, the others will be required to pay a rate that is yet to be decided by the authorities.

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