BHUBANESWAR: Another unauthorized slum is in the offing on a prime government land in Bhubaneswar, thanks to the callous attitude of two government agencies - general administration department (GA) and Idco (Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation).
Unauthorized thatched houses have started coming up on nearly one-and-half acre land near Maitree Vihar, belonging to the GA department, one of the controllers of government lands in the city. The land is located a stone's throw from Fortune Tower, the hub of several corporate companies, and Salia Sahi, the biggest slum in the state capital.
According to information available with TOI, the director of estates on June 30, 2010 had asked Idco to take immediate steps for construction of a boundary wall over the land in Bharatpur mouza. Idco responded to the GA department's letter on August 28, 2010 and asked the department to first clear the encroachment. "Necessary steps may please be taken at your end (GA department) for eviction. Local police (Chandrasekharpur) should be intimated for proper protection to avoid litigation during construction of boundary wall," the letter said.
But no steps have been taken either to clear the encroachment or to build the fence, alleged locals. When contacted, an Idco officer said, "We will soon start the construction (of the boundary wall) with the assistance of police."
Maitree Vihar residents, however, are far from convinced. "Now only a handful of thatched houses have come up. But we are sure it will explode and soon turn into another slum. The government will face an uphill task then to remove the encroachments," said Harinandan Mahatab, who lives in the neighbourhood.
"The government is being very callous in this regard. Once the slum comes up, it will give rise to anti-social activities. We have brought the matter to the notice of the GA and Idco authorities several times, but to no avail," he added.