Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said legal assistance cells would be set up at gram panchayat level to improve access to the justice delivery system to the poor and underprivileged in the state.

Attending Biju Janata Dal’s first state-level legal front convention in Cuttack, he said legal cells would be named after legal luminary Madhusudan Das as “Madhu Babu Aaiin Sahayata Kendra” which would be functional in coming year.

The chief minister also announced three-fold increase in Lawyers’ Welfare Fund from Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore.

“The BJD, in its election manifesto, had declared to open legal assistance cell in each gram panchayat to improve access to the justice delivery system to the poor and the underprivileged,” he said.

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“We will set up legal assistance cells to provide an enabling environment for the legal empowerment of our people.”

The legal assistance cells will offer services once a week and is likely to be operational from next year, sources said.

The chief minister also announced setting up of Law University in the state for improving the standards of legal education in the state.

“My government is seriously contemplating establishment of Law University to strengthen the functioning of law colleges in the state. This will be a milestone in improving the quality of legal education in our state,” said Patnaik.

He said the government has taken several measures to improve the legal infrastructure and establishment of new courts.

Patnaik said the cabinet decision to establish Law Commission will benefit people by new laws and fine tuning existing laws.