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No land settlement yet in this Odisha district

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, June 11:

The district headquarter town of Malkangiri as well as its suburbs in south west Odisha faces a unique problem. It may sound strange,  but the truth is, roughly 90% of its residents live in houses that are built on land that they do not legally own.

For the last four decades the administration has failed to settle land settlement problem in this Maoist-dominated border district.

While a few families in Balimela and Chitrakonda have proper land documents, nearly 90 per cent of the people living in Malkangiri town have no pattas on land they have built their homes on.

While the district administration is yet to initiate any effort in this regard, the Revenue department says the problem persists since the grand old days of British rule.

The Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC) of Malkangiri district has been pitching for a permanent solution to the problem for the last several years but that has not helped.

The Committee had presented its demands to chief minister Naveen Patnaik during its meeting with him in 2009 and had received assurances for a resolution of the old problem. However, that was never followed up by any sincere action on the part of the state government or the district administration.

Though leaders of several political parties had taken up the issue as one of their major political planks during 2009 and 2014 elections, nothing has been done as yet, lamented Deba Prasad Dash, general secretary of the CCC.

However, the newly elected local MLA Manas Madkami of the ruling Biju Janata Dal has promised to do his best end the impasse by pursuing the matter with the state government.