Bhubaneswar:  The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, Monday launched the world’s largest slum land title transfer scheme in the state with handing over land right certificates to the beneficiaries in Ganjam district. The project will benefit about 10 lakh slum dwellers in the state in next five years.

The aim of the project is to improve the lives of the urban poor in the state by creating sustainable living conditions for them.

“Seven months ago we took a path-breaking decision on urban land rights and I am proud to announce that it has already become a reality today. There was a choice between continuing the practices of evictions and treating people as encroachers or recognizing the immense contribution to the life of the city and providing them land rights. We choose the second option by keeping people first,” said Patnaik while distributing the land rights certificates to about 2000 slum dwellers in nine urban local bodies of Ganjam and Puri district.

Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata, renowned architect Lord Norman Foster and land rights activist Gautam Bhan were also present on the occasion.

Under the second phase which is underway, Tata Trusts is providing technical support including drone surveys and slum mapping for around 100,000 households in 10 districts of the state, the statement said.

The beneficiaries in notified area committees will get 600 square feet land each, while in municipalities, they will get 450 square feet land. However, the beneficiaries in municipal corporation areas will avail 300 square feet built-up areas for residential purpose.

In addition to the land titles, the beneficiary will also be provided with Rs 2 lakh part-funding to build their homes, along with basic needs like electricity, healthcare, education, sanitation, anganwadis, skill development and most importantly, self-respect and freedom from the perpetual fear of eviction.

Tata Trusts Managing Trustee Venkat Ramanan said that the Liveable Habitat Mission is an endeavour to offer Tata Trust’s experience toward creating an exclusive society in Odisha where citizens have equal rights in all domains.  According to him Tata Trusts has been working with the underprivileged sections of society through interventions in housing, basic services and livelihoods.