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Bhubaneswar: Smart city authorities should act against open grabbing of road side public land

Roadside public land encroached by houseowners of Bhubaneswar

Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara

Bhubaneswar |

Last updated May 17, 2017 12:10:06 AM +0530

Bhubaneswar, Public Land Encroachment, Smart City, Odisha

As it seemed after talking to a supervisor of the contractor who has taken contract for a road in the N-6 block of IRC Village, probably a nexus between a few influential house owners and concerned authorities plays the role in nullifying all the norms set to keep the city grow within plan. Or, there must be some people in power who have encroached upon the public land left beside the road and they don’t want the land to be made free.

 

Aspiring to become one of India’s smart cities, Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar may face the bigger challenge from the house owners who encroach upon the public land left alongside the roads. It clearly indicates that the dwellers of Bhubaneswar grossly lack decency, integrity and the very basic civic sense.

The practice however could stop if the municipal administration and concerned bodies like the Road and Building department and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority dealt with the encroachers strongly, by the terms of the laws in their true spirit. But, as it seemed after talking to a supervisor of the contractor who has taken contract for a road in the N-6 block of IRC Village, probably a nexus between a few influential house owners and concerned authorities plays the role in nullifying all the norms set to keep the city grow within plan. Or, there must be some people in power who have encroached upon the public land left beside the road and they don’t want the land to be made free.

One can make an idea about such encroachment from the pictures published as part of the story to supplement as evidence. They tell about the second lane of the N-6 Area in the IRC village.

The supervisor who I talked to identified himself as Saroj Das, working since two months with the contractor Manoj Nayak. When asked, why they do not clear the almost permanent concrete works done by house owners in the roadside public land, Das said, he has not been told to clear any concrete works but to slope the soil area and lift the extra soil.

“The R&D engineer hasn’t told us to do so,” Das said.

Though neither the R&D engineer nor the contractor were available for a comment, it clearly seems that such illegal practice thrives under the nose of the officials of every department – from the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation to the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, and the Roads and Buildings department.

The case of the particular lane of the N-6 area of IRC Village is just a tip of the iceberg. The practice is widespread across the city of Bhubaneswar, which houses most people in power in the state. And, almost all must be knowing this.

What disturbs the most is that the people and officials of various departments who should be rather protecting the public property for their best use for public purposes have been instrumental in making road for such encroachment either by being involved in it or by remaining silent spectators to all these wrong doings without initiating any action against it.

All encroached as if they are all personal properties. Not even an inch left.

As Bhubaneswar is claiming to be one of the best choices to become a smart city and is going to become one of the smart cities of India, such a practice may play deterrent on the way of achieving the goal and may hamper the cityscape. Instead of talking big and posting all favourables on the social media walls to create a masked picture for public view, the administrators involved in the smart city project should rather be careful to craft a real smart Bhubaneswar reflecting the best civic values.

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