Pucca houses, piped water for mining affected villages

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 28: People living in the mining affected areas of Odisha would get pucca houses by August as the state government decided to spend Rs 869 crore for the socio-economic development of the mineral belt.

“It was decided to construct pucca houses in all villages adjacent to mining areas. Piped water will also be supplied there. Besides, massive plantation activities would be taken up in and around these villages,” Secretary, Forest and Environment, SC Mohapatra, said.

The decision in this regard was taken at the Board of Directors meeting of the Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation (OMBADC) under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary AP Padhi on Saturday.

The programme will cover 523 villages under 29 blocks in 8 districts – Angul, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar, Koraput Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh. These villages have been identified as mining affected.

“The chief minister has directed the department concerned to complete the construction of all pucca houses by August this year,” Mohapatra said.

Stating that Panchayati Raj department would take up construction of around 46,000 pucca houses in 523 villages at a cost of Rs 350 crore, Mohapatra said around 20,000 houses will be constructed in Keonjhar district and 8,000 houses in Sundergarh district.

The construction of the pucca houses would be made in line with the schemes and components under the Biju Pucca Ghara Yojana (BPGY). Around Rs 350 crore would be spent on construction of pucca houses in mining areas.

While these houses would be built under the Mineral Bearing Areas Development Fund (MBADF), National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) funds would be utilized for construction of toilets, Mohapatra said.

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This apart, he said, schemes have been prepared by the Rural Water Supply & Sanitation (RWSS) for supply of piped water to these villages at an investment of Rs 350 crore.

While the people will be provided pucca houses within six months, Mohapatra said, it may require more than a year give them piped water due to certain difficulties.

For plantation, the government would spend around Rs 20 crore. Of the total outlay of Rs 869 crore, today’s meeting approved project works worth Rs 720 crore,” Mohapatra said.

On the source of funds for undertaking such a huge project, he said, “The state government has received MBADF, which is 50 percent of the one-time funds available under the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority as per the directive of the Supreme Court.”

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