Decks cleared for ambitious Urban History Museum project in Bhubaneswar


Bhubaneswar: Finally, the state government won a 30-year-old legal battle and took possession of 1.3 acres of land near AG Square in the city where the ambitious project of Bhubaneswar Museum of Urban History will come up as part of the Smart City Proposal.

The site for the ambitious museum project at Ganga Nagar in Unit-VI area was encroached upon by a private school for the past 30 years. The Central Enforcement Monitoring Committee (CEMC) cleared the encroachments on the land on Friday.

The Bhubaneswar Museum of Urban History will be the first of its kind project in the country. The CEMC consisting General Administration Department (GAD), Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) cleared the encroachments. Trench was dug up around the reclaimed land to construct boundary wall immediately.

Sources said, a total of 2.3 acres of land including one grabbed by the private school would be used for the ambitious museum project under the Smart City Proposal, where the visitors would have a firsthand experience of knowing the genesis of the city from an ancient fort city near Sisupalgarh to the modern State Capital, for which the master plan was done by German planner Otto Konigsberger .

The city, which was also known as Ekamra Kashetra as an abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati with more than 360 beautiful monuments, later topped the Smart City Challenge and its Smart City Proposal became the best one from nearly 100 across India.

Out of the entire 2.3 acres of land, the unused land near Bhubaneswar Club has already been taken into possession. A nearby registered youth-based organisation, Nehru Institute of Youth Affairs, would be shifted so that the land could be used for the development of the beautiful project, which would give a special identity to the city.

The Bhubaneswar Museum of Urban History, once completed, would give students, young people, visitors, tourists and researchers an innovative walkthrough involving the genesis and socio-economic-anthropological evolution, to be curated and presented in a state-of-the-art interactive way.

It is worth mentioning here that the 1.3 acres of land were illegally occupied by one Raghu Ray. Ray had allegedly forged the GAD land papers and running Indira English Medium School on the land since 1988 with an affiliation from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). However, later CBSE withdrew its affiliation after the forgery came to the light. The school remained closed since 2007, though the encroachment over the government land was continuing.

The General Administration Department had filed an FIR against the encroacher. Later an Odisha Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants, Act, 1972) OPPE case was initiated by the GAD.

However, Ray challenged the notice of the OPPE case and obtained a status quo order which was continuing since 2006 till date. Later, the GAD filed a miscellaneous case seeking quashing of the status quo order.

After a long legal battle, the court passed orders on May 5 and on May 18 in favour of the government and directed Ray to vacate the school premises by May 31 failing which joint eviction squad of GA, BDA, BMC and the BSCL would evict the encroacher from the site on Friday.

Four Poclain machines, eight excavators, eight tippers and more than 200 police and fire services personnel were pressed into service during the eviction drive.


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