The Odisha government had decided to confer land rights to the slum households of five Municipal Corporations in the line of the land rights conferred upon the households of the urban local bodies of the State.
In order to provide land rights to slum dwellers, necessary amendments in the Odisha Municipal Corporation Act, 2003 will be effected, according to a decision approved by the State cabinet on Friday.
The government’s decision will benefit around 10 lakh inhabitants of slum settlements who were being deprived of housing assistance under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) scheme.
The Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2017 was enacted with a view to assign land rights to identified and eligible slum dwellers with a twin objective of providing security of tenure and to transform the slums into liveable habitats, a statement issued by the government said.
Similar provisions were also incorporated in the municipal Corporation Act, 2003 through an amendment in the year 2017 to confer property rights on the households living in the slums of the Municipal Corporations. However, after about 4 years of implementation, it is seen that the amended provisions have remained by and large inconsequential as no significant progress could be made regarding conferment of Property Rights to the Slum Dwellers owing to various reasons. Due to this, more than 2 lakh households are deprived of availing housing assistance under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U)
Aware of these difficulties in the implementation of the Property Rights to Slum Dwellers in the Corporation areas and to ensure land tenure security and to avail housing assistance under PMAY, the government had decided to confer land rights on the slum households in the Municipal Corporations.
Wherever it is possible to provide property rights, Municipal Corporations will grant property rights, but if it is not possible to grant such property rights, the corporations will have the flexibility of granting the land rights to the slum household in-situ over a land upto an extent of 45 Square metres.
If the slum households belong to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category, land rights are proposed to be granted free of cost over an area of 30 Sq.mt. If the slum household is in occupation of a patch of land, which is less than 30 square meter and vacant Government land is available adjacent to the dwelling unit, it is proposed that land right shall be granted over a land as nearly as 30 Sq.mt. by amalgamating the land available for the purpose.
The government has proposed to promulgate an ordinance, which will not only ensure security of tenure but will also make the households eligible for availing benefits under housing schemes, benefitting approximately 2,40,000/- no. of households covering about 9,70,000/- population in 5 Municipal Corporation areas.
The ordinance is a reassurance to the slum dwellers on their “Right to the City” and confirmation that “the Government values its people more than it values its land”, the statement concluded.