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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

Odisha government announces grant of ownership of land for refugees from Bangladesh, Burma

The Naveen Patnaik-led cabinet had decided to accord ownership to the allotments made to 515 eligible displaced families of East Pakistan and Burma with DP (Displaced Persons) tenements free of cost up to four tenements per family

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 27.02.24, 09:06 AM
The grandsons and granddaughters of the displaced persons from East Pakistan and Burma express their joy at Sunabeda after getting the ownership of land

The grandsons and granddaughters of the displaced persons from East Pakistan and Burma express their joy at Sunabeda after getting the ownership of land Sourced by the Telegraph

Tears rolled down the cheeks of Manoj Barman, 42, whose parents hail from the Dhaka district of Bangladesh, then east Pakistan, as the Naveen Patnaik government announced grant of ownership of the land where his family has been staying since 1964. They will enjoy the right of ownership of land after almost 60 years of living here.

The Odisha cabinet had decided to accord ownership to the allotments made to 515 eligible displaced families of East Pakistan and Burma with DP (Displaced Persons) tenements free of cost up to four tenements per family. These displaced families from East Pakistan and Burma repatriates have settled in the Sunabeda Municipality area of Koraput district since 1964.

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Barman, who owns a small bangle shop, told The Telegraph: “The refugee tag is painful. Even though we have been settled here since the 1960s, people see us here as refugees. We have been born and brought up here. But it’s painful that we are looked down upon.”

Manoj’s elder brother, Nandagopal said: “Even I have little idea about East Pakistan. My grandfather used to tell us how we had been repatriated to this place in the 1960s following violence there. Now that the land is named after us, we will be entitled to many facilities — at least our identity is preserved now.”

“Following the cabinet decision on Thursday, they will have permanent title and ownership of the land and the existing structure over such land,” said chief secretary P.K. Jena.

The state cabinet also waived off a total amount of Rs 5,11,94,700 out of which Rs 8,65,200 towards the loan amount of 206 families and Rs 5,03,29,500 towards the market value of Rs 1,64,000 square feet of land.

Chairman, Sunabeda Municipality, Rajendra Kumar Patra told this newspaper: “When there was dense forest here, the people came and later settled here. They have also been covered under the free rice scheme and other facilities, including medical facilities. But as they don’t enjoy the rights on land, they are being deprived of getting many facilities during the transaction of business. Besides, getting rights over land makes them equal with others.”

Patra said: “As these people are living with us like brothers over the years and have completely assimilated with our culture, we have initiated the process to give the rights to these people. Thanks to the Naveen Patnaik government for accepting our proposal in this regard.”

Sharing his happiness, Subas Sahu said: “Our family worked in Burma as labourers and worked in various projects. After violence broke out there, our family was repatriated to the place. We don’t have records from where my ancestors went from Odisha to work as their labourers. But now in the same land, we have turned into refugees again. Now with the Naveen Patnaik government deciding to accord the ownership of lands, we would no longer be considered as refugees.”

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