Paradip, April 11: Unauthorised human settlements have come up in areas near the Paradip Port township.
The encroachers are occupying government land here at will. Though 1,299 illegal settlers have been identified, authorities are dragging their feet in evicting them.
Notices to evict the settlers have been served under Section 266 of the Orissa Municipality Act and the Orissa Prevention of Land Encroachment Act.
“There is an absence of regulatory mechanism. Anybody could occupy land at will and bring up illegal construction. Still he could go unpunished. The beauty of town is being ravaged almost everyday,” said civil society rights activist Binayak Swain.
Additional district magistrate Surajit Das said: “The administration has resolved to evict the occupiers of the government land. Around 1,300 illegal settlers occupying government land have been identified. Legal steps are being taken to free the government land.”
Instances are too glaring to escape notice such as Atharabanki, Lockpada and the reservoir area of the town. Earlier, eviction drive went under way. But, fresh settlements have come up the drive was over. Of late, hundreds of dwelling houses have sprouted up. Many of them are staying beside the water reservoir. Hygiene has taken a backseat and the water body is undergoing polluted by the slum settlers.
“The civic body officials are verifying the places where unlawful permanent constructions have come up. Unlawful constructions would be demolished and encroachers would be punished,” said Das.
The township is shouldering the burden of over 60,000 migrant people living in slum clusters. These illegal settlers continue to pose headache for the port trust authorities, civil and police administration of the state government.
“Like most of the growing urban centres, Paradip port town is also besieged with the tricky issue of illegal slum settlements. We have carried out eviction drive from time to time to keep the town encroachment-free. Besides, the Paradip Port Trust has undertaken to rehabilitate settlers in unauthorised slums purely under humanitarian consideration,” said port trust vice-chairman A.S. Bose.