Bhubaneswar, May 7 : Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday launched, in the state's Ganjam district, the pilot project of one of the world's largest slum land title transfer projects, an official statement said.
Patnaik handed over land rights certificates to the first beneficiaries as part of the project, aiming to improve the lives of the urban poor in the state by creating sustainable living conditions for them.
Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata, renowned architect Lord Norman Foster and land rights activist Gautam Bhan were also present on the occasion, it said, adding that the project will benefit approximately one million people residing in 2,500 slums across the state, over the next few years.
In the first phase, land rights were provided to 2,000 slum-dwellers of nine urban local bodies of Ganjam and Puri district.
In addition to the land titles, the beneficiary will also be provided with Rs 2 lakh 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.
"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," said Patnaik.
"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 favour of the slum dwellers," he added.
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, the statement said.
The beneficiaries in notified area committees will get 600 square feet land each, while in municipalities, they will get 450 square feet land.
However, the beneficiaries in municipal corporation areas will avail 300 square feet built-up areas for residential purpose.
Tata Trusts Managing Trustee Venkat Ramanan said: "Tata Trusts has been working with the underprivileged sections of society through interventions in housing, basic services and livelihoods.
The Liveable Habitat Mission is an endeavour to offer our experience towards creating an inclusive society in Odisha where citizens have equal rights in all domains."
"Ensuring the smooth and seamless execution of the process will bring a major respite to lakhs of urban poor across the state," he added.