By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, November 16, 2021: Around 2,000 families of Odisha’s Jharsuguda district who were displaced during the construction of Hirakud dam over the Mahanadi river will be provided homestead land by the state government.

This was announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while launching the distribution of smart health cards under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) in Jharsuguda district.

Over 1.15 lakh people of the district will benefit from the smart health cards.

Land was acquired in 1952-53 for the Hirakud dam project from the people of Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Subarnapur districts. Issues relating to payment of ex gratia, homestead land, settlement of agriculture land and basic amenities had been settled. However, certain service groups in the society were not awarded full compensation and were yet to be rehabilitated, sources said.

In all 73,923 hectares of land was submerged due to the construction of the Hirakud dam over 60 years ago. This included 49,920 hectares of agricultural land and 24,003 hectares of government land, official sources said.

Out of the 111 fully submerged villages, 108 villages were in Odisha. Altogether 174 villages were partially submerged – 141 in Odisha and 33 in Chhattisgarh. Around 18,000 families were displaced for the Hirakud dam project, they said.

Meanwhile, Jharsuguda has now become the 12th district in the state to be included in the BSKY smart health card scheme.

Besides launching the smart health card programme virtually on Monday, Patnaik also launched projects worth Rs 297 crore for the district which included the inauguration of projects worth Rs 144 crore and laying of the foundation stone of projects worth Rs 153 crore.

Two water treatment plants for Jharsuguda and Brajarajnagar towns were also inaugurated.

Noting that drinking water projects worth Rs 618 crore are being implemented in the district, Patnaik said 1.22 lakh families in Jharsuguda district will get safe drinking water by June next year.

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