Chief Secretary G.C. Pati said the ordinance will provide for criminal prosecution of land grabbers, which could end in imprisonment of one to seven years with fine up to Rs.20,000.
“The offence shall be cognizable and non-bailable and no person shall be released on bail without hearing public prosecutor. The burden of proof that he has not grabbed the land, lies with the person who is alleged to have committed land grabbing,” said Pati.
The cabinet took the decision after the state government reported that there were organised attempts by certain people to grab land either by force or by deceit.
They are grabbing land belonging to the local authority, religious and charitable institutions in urban areas and near national and state highways.
“Since the state assembly is not in session, the government have decided to take immediate action by promulgating ordinance namely, Odisha Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Ordinance, 2014,” said Pati.
Under the ordinance, it is proposed to establish a special court, which shall have power to take cognizance and try every case arising out of any alleged act of land grabbing suo moto or on application filed by any officer, authority or person, Pati said.
The cabinet also gave its nod for the amendment of the Odisha Prevention of Land Encroachment Act, 1972 (Odisha Act 6 of 1972).
Besides, the cabinet decided to amend Odisha Apartment Ownership Act, 1982, which would bring all apartments under its purview. Only high-rise apartments came under the purview of the act earlier.