BHUBANESWAR: Four bills including the much-awaited Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Bill, 2017 were passed in the Assembly on Wednesday.Introducing the Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Bill, 2017 in the Assembly, Housing and Urban Development Minister Niranjan Pujari said it is a historical decision of the State Government to provide land and housing units to the urban poor living in different slums. The Bill will provide land to slum dwellers residing in Municipalities and Notified Area Councils (NACs) of the State.

Stating that the demographic shift from rural to urban areas has been a continuous process for past several decades, Pujari said the shortage of affordable space has resulted in persons occupying large chunks of government land in urban areas. As per the 2011 census, 23.1 per cent of urban population which is one out of five urban households, live in slum areas, the Minister said.

Therefore, it was felt by the Government to enact a separate legislation to provide for assigning land rights to identified slum dwellers, for development, rehabilitation and upgradation of slums in Municipal Council areas and NACs, Pujari added.

While land up to 30 square metres will be settled free of cost, land above 30 square metres, subject to a maximum limit of 60 square metres in NACs and 40 square metres in municipal council areas, will be settled at a percentage of the benchmark value of the land, the Bill said.
Welcoming the legislation, Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra of Congress said, the bill will help the poor people, who are residing in the slums.

BJP member Rabi Nayak also praised the move. He, however, said the Government should not use this for political gain of the ruling party.The urban poor in slum will get land rights for residential use which is mortgageable and non-transferable. In corporate areas, limited transferable rights will be given.
Other Bills which were also passed in the Assembly on the day are, The Odisha Sales Tax (Settlement of Arrears) Amendment Bill, 2017; The Odisha Motor Vehicle Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and The Odisha Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Pipe water to 1215 GPs by 2018

Bhubaneswar: THE State Government on Wednesday directed the Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department to ensure that all panchayat headquarters of the State have access to pipe water supply by 2018.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave the direction after taking stock of the progress on drinking water supply in rural areas at a high-level meeting in the State Secretariat here. Pipe water is being supplied to 5,586 out of 6,801 gram panchayats in the State. The department has been asked to cover the remaining 1,215 panchayats headquarters under pipe water supply scheme by December 2018. Briefing mediapersons after the review meeting, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said, a decision was taken to increase the pipe water supply coverage to more than 50 per cent population of the State by next year. The meeting also reviewed the welfare activities undertaken by Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation in eight mineral bearing districts. The State Government has set a target to construct 29,829 pucca houses in these districts by this year end. Besides, 196 drinking water projects will be set up to cater to the needs 691 villages.

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Photo source: Adam Cohn via Flickr/Creative Commons (CC By-NC-ND 2.0). Photo: ©Adam Cohn

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