BHUBANESWAR: Worried over land mafia and influential people grabbing vast stretches of government land in prime locations in the city, the state government has woken up to assess the exact volume of land encroached and take steps to free the properties.
At a recent meeting of city management group (CMG), consisting of officers of different government agencies and police, development commissioner Injeti Srinivas asked National Informatics Centre (NIC) to develop a software with GPS-tagged photography system to locate encroachments. At present, the state government has no data of encroachments on land, belonging to general administration department, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and Odisha State Housing Board. Though the state government often put up signboards on its properties, warning action against trespassers, the move has failed to deter land sharks.
"A strong reliable database on encroachments is lacking," said minutes of the meeting. BDA vice-chairman Vishal Dev said the government has engaged NIC to create the software for 'online registration of encroachment'. "We are maintaining files dealing with encroachment manually. Soon, such records will be maintained online for transparency and easy disposal," Dev said.
The government has asked BDA and housing board to prevent encroachments on 'leftover' spaces near their housing schemes. "In many plotted schemes, narrow strips of land have been left out while developing housing colonies. These areas are more vulnerable to encroachment. Since the leftover land cannot be used for other purposes, it can be sold to nearby plot owners," the minutes said.
At the meeting, the development commissioner instructed BDA and water resources department to remove encroachments on natural drainage channels in the city. Though the city has 10 natural water channels, almost all are being encroached. The government in 2006 had asked drainage division (Cuttack) to execute renovation of some drains under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), but the project is moving at snail's pace.
On November 6, 2013, the state government evicted 'encroachment' on natural drainage channel 4 near Regional Plant Research Centre, popular as Ekamra Kanan, in Nayapalli.
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