Land For Slum Dwellers


In a landmark event in the history of India, the State Government today handed over land titles to urban slum dwellers.


Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik handed over land rights certificates to the first beneficiaries as part of one of the world’s largest slum land titling project to improve the lives of the urban poor in the state by creating sustainable living conditions for them.  

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said; “Seven months ago we took a path-breaking decision on urban land-rights and I am proud to announce that it has already become a reality today.  There was a choice between continuing the practices of evictions and treating people as encroachers or recognizing the immense contribution to the life of the city and providing them land rights. We choose the second option by keeping people first.”
 
He added, “I am happy to inform you that the land settlement is being done in a systematic and scientific manner with the involvement of community who will be deciding the settlement of land in favor of the slum dwellers. I congratulate the Housing and Urban Development Department and
 
Historically viewed as encroachers and kept on the periphery of society, the government by granting them land entitlement in effect handed them a right to live.  

As a preamble to Odisha Government’s Livable Habitat Mission, this project will benefit approximately one million people residing in 2500 slums across the state, over the next few years.

In addition to the land titles, the beneficiary will also be provided with two lakh rupees part-funding to build their homes, along with basic needs like electricity, healthcare, education, sanitation, anganwadis, skill development and most importantly, self-respect and freedom from the perpetual fear of eviction.
 
Tata Trusts, along with all the other partners and NGOs, for their efforts in ensuring speedy implementation of this initiative.” Under the first phase of survey and validation of 3,000 households in an Urban Local Body (ULB) in Puri and seven ULBs of Ganjam district, land rights have been awarded to 2,000 households by the government. Under the second phase which is underway, Tata Trusts is providing technical support including drone surveys and slum mapping for around 100,000 households in 10 districts of the State. 

Mr.Bhan, a leading slum activist and an academic, in his address said that the initiative taken by the chief minister is historic and path breaking and this initiative, to value life over land in urban areas, is commendable.
 
R Venkatramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts welcomed the initiative of the State and assured to support the programme till the goal is achieved. He thanked the Chief Minister for realizing the contribution of the slum dwellers to the society and in turn bringing dignity in their life.

Managing Director, OMIDYAR Network India Advisors Rupa Kudva appreciated the unmatched decision of the Naveen Patnaik Government and assured to give wide publicity to this historic initiative for replication by other states and countries.

Minister, Housing and Urban Development and Water Resources Niranjan Pujari, highlighted the efforts made by urban development department in enacting the legislation and starting the commencement of the distribution of land rights certificate by the committed timelines and assured to complete the entire process by December 2018.

To institutionalize this initiative he mentioned that setting up of Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission –JAAGA will go a long way in transforming slums into liveable habitats.
 
Industrialist, educationist and philanthropist Ratan Tata lauded the decision of the Chief Minister as ‘earth shaking’ and ‘far-reaching’.

He congratulated the entire State on this historic occasion and assured whole-hearted support of the Tata Trusts to convert the dream of Chief Minister into a reality.

He also drew attention of all by mentioning Odisha as a progressive State that will certainly fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the slum dwellers who are the lifeline of the cities.
 
Renowned British architect Lord Norman Foster who attended this celebration on the request of Ratan Tata, mentioned in his address that a progressive political leader in India like  Naveen Patnaik, had the courage and wisdom to create such a ground breaking legislation.

He mentioned that the new land owners whose certificates opened the doors to an era of positive change and security should definitely celebrate today. 

Lord Norman also mentioned that this initiative will have a ripple effect not only in Odisha today but will give a signal to the global community for their involvement in this kind of like minded legislation.
 


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