Reported by Simanchal Patnaik
Phulbani, Jan 16 :
The 12 hour Bandh call given by the local Action Committee demanding the revision of land settlement records to facilitate the grant of land pattas to people received a huge public response on Thursday as all offices, banks, commercial establishments and educational institutions here remained closed.
The leaders of the Joint Action Committee told OST that the land records of the town are based on surveys undertaken in 1924 and 1930 in the pre-Independence era. They threatened to go for a complete poll boycott in 2014 polls if the government did not take serious note of the public sentiment over land rights issues.
They said since the last land settlement in Phulbani which was conducted 50 years ago, in 1964-65, there has been no effort by the administration to update records.
“ This has led to a great deal of confusion and the revenue officials are now issuing encroachment notices to people who have settled down on plots for decades. There is no regulatory mechanism to keep the valuation of land under check and as a result the prices of plots are skyrocketing,” they said.
The Joint Action Committee leaders also said people in Brahmapur had faced a similar problem in the past but the government had stepped in to resolve land rights issues.
“Why can’t the government do the same in Phulbani,” they asked.
The local BJD MLA Debendra Kanhar while expressing solidarity with the cause taken up by the action Committee said he has already drawn the attention of the chief minister to this longstanding demand of the public and will pursue the matter further.
Kandhamal Collector Dr N.Thirumala Nayak said encroachment issues are a time-consuming affair and can be resolved only after following the due process of law.