Staff Reporter

Major demand of Committee of Concerned Citizens is settlement of land records

Delegation met Naveen at Balimela on March 1

Other demands related to communication problems and development of education

BERHAMPUR: Citizens of Malkangiri allege that the promises made to them by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are yet to materialise.

A delegation of ‘Committee of Concerned Citizens’ (CCC) of Malkangiri district had met the Chief Minister at Balimela on March 1. Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik was on a visit to the naxal-infested district on an election campaign tour. The CCC delegation was led by president of the CCC GRK Patnaik.

Major demands of the delegation were related to land issues, communication problems and development of education in the district. According to general secretary of the CCC, Deba Prasad Dash, the Chief Minister had promised to take immediate steps to sort out the problems of this much-neglected southern most district of Orissa. “But till now no steps have been taken for the fulfillment of the promises”, Mr Dash alleged.

Major demand of the citizens was the settlement of land records of all rural and urban pockets of the district. It is an irony that as per the government records 90 per cent of the inhabitants of district headquarter town Malkangiri are encroachers of government land. The same situation continues in remote pockets of this district. Only a few families living in Balimela and Chitrakonda areas have patta for their homestead land. As per revenue records they are illegal encroachers of government land.

The land settlement work has not been done in the district for the past 35 years, alleged the members. As per revenue officials this problem has occurred because this area was under the Madras Presidency during British rule. As per the land revenue records most of the land outside a village or ‘gramakantha’ was considered government land.

The villages which were just hamlets about a century ago have turned into town like Malkangiri. But the land records have not been modified.

The Revenue Ministry has agreed to sort out this problem. But the process of rectification was yet to start in Malkangiri district despite tge promise of the Chief Minister, alleged Mr Dash.

The citizens’ forum had also demanded that the State Government take over the two colleges in the district at Balimela and Malkangiri towns.

The forum wanted construction of the Gurupriya bridge which could connect the 150 villages in the cut-off area of Chitrakonda reservoir with the main land of Malkangiri district. They also demanded construction of a bridge over Saberi river near Motu for better communication with Andhra Pradesh and Chhatisgarh.