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Transforming Slums Into Livable Habitats: Odisha’s 'Jaga Mission' Bags Bronze At World Habitat Awards

09 December 2019


Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government's pioneering initiative of granting land rights to several lakh slum dwellers in the State has been named for the Bronze award in this year's World Habitat Awards. The project is being undertaken by the Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission (OLHM) or the Jaga Mission.

OLHM or Jaga Mission, 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 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.

The Gold Award Winners for 2019 are Viviendas para las entidades sociales, Spain and Restoration of Dignity and Human Rights of Indigenous Tribal Community in Karnataka, India.

Alongside the two Gold Award Winners are one Silver Award and six Bronze Awards:

Discus Housing First, Netherlands (Silver);

Building with EARTH, China (Bronze);

Healthy Homes for Humanity, Guatemala (Bronze);

Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission, India (Bronze);

La Borda housing co-operative, Spain (Bronze)

#GreenNFit Neighbourhood Rebuild, USA (Bronze)

Dzivarasekwa Slum Upgrading Project, Zimbabwe (Bronze)

The Final Judges of the World Habitat Awards: Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat; and Leilani Farha, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing.