Odisha’s ‘Jaga Mission’ Bags Bronze At World Habitat Awards

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha won the World Habitat Award, a global recognition for its ambitious initiative — Jaga Mission. This award is given by World Habitat, a UK-based organisation, in partnership with UN-Habitat, every year, in recognition of innovative, outstanding, and revolutionary ideas, projects, and programmes from across the world.

Jaga Mission is acclaimed as the World’s largest slum land titling project, benefiting a million urban poor living in the slums, with promises to provide “self-respect and freedom from the perpetual fear of eviction”. This Mission is being executed in collaboration with reputed philanthropic organisations, like Tata Trusts and Norman Foster Foundation, was launched in May 2018 for providing land tenure to slum dwellers and transforming all slums in the state to liveable habitat.

As of now the project has achieved the following milestones:

  • 52,682 families granted Land Rights Certificate
  • 1,725 slums surveyed using drones and GIS technology
  • Adoption of state-of-art technology combined with extensive community participation resulted in dispute and litigation free implementation in a time bound manner
  • Transformation of 255 slums into liveable habitat under implementation
  • Community Centric and community led, right based slum upgradation programme

After declaration of this award, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tweeted, “#Odisha won the World Habitat Award 2019 for @TheJagaMission.  Congratulations to Team @HUDDeptOdisha& its partners @tatatrusts and @NormanFosterFdn. The journey to empower 1.7 million urban poor living in slums continues.”

Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, said, “I extend my congratulations to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha and his team at this proud moment. The World Habitat Award is a recognition for the vision and commitment of the Government of Odisha to improve the lives of the urban poor. The Tata Trusts are privileged to partner with the Government of Odisha in this noble initiative.”

Recently, this project was also awarded with the India Geospatial Excellence Award for technological innovation in transforming lives of urban poor. It is for the first time in the world that such type of spatial data is being prepared, for extensive use through drones, for slums. This hybrid programme of the state government with involvement of innovative technology and extensive community participation is highly appreciated by the policy makers, administrators and researchers.

The Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission (OLHM) maps and surveys slums, bringing together the use of pioneering technology and community participation. It then uses this information to assign land rights to eligible residents – and upgrades the physical infrastructure with roads, drains, street-lights, sanitation and clean-water supplies.

More than 50,000 families have been granted land rights under new legislation – The Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Act – which was passed by the Odisha government in 2017 as the first step in its pioneering programme to raise living standards in the state’s 2,919 slums.

Once implemented state-wide, the project will have issued land rights to 206,000 families, benefitting 1 million people. Affordable housing complexes built on government land will benefit a further 0.8 million people. The target for completion is 2021-2023.

Bimala Moharana has lived in Ishaneswar slum in Bhubaneswar one for more than 30 years. She said: “I am extremely happy with the new look and facilities of the slum, including the development of the open space where people gather and socialise. It is such a delight to see our children and grandchildren playing joyfully in this secure and exclusive play area.

“Before, this space was unkept, had waterlogged patches and course paving which was unsafe for children. The Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission team listened to our suggestions and issues and immediately worked on it. Playground measurement, followed by soft sand filling and levelling, confined by curb stones. It has transformed this space into a colourful, playful and safe ground for our kids. Our slum has now become truly a liveable habitat.”

David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat, said: “At least a billion people live in slums across the world – and the number is growing. This project has recognised that you can’t solve this issue by demolishing homes and forcing people to move. This project has not only established land rights for residents and improved living conditions, but they are doing it at an astonishing scale.”

The World Habitat Awards judging panel said: “There is huge ambition behind this state-led project, which takes a community-centred approach to granting land rights. This is a fantastic initiative, acting as a superb example to the rest of the country of what can be done. The extreme speed of their progress, backed up by legislation, is very impressive.”

Each year the World Habitat Awards are presented to the most outstanding and innovative housing projects from across the world. In 2019 almost 200 projects and programmes entered the Awards.

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