AP says 'no' to centre’s move to reduce agriculture land ceiling - The New Indian Express

AP says 'no' to centre’s move to reduce agriculture land ceiling

Published: 31st August 2013 12:01 PM

Last Updated: 31st August 2013 12:01 PM

The state government has firmly rejected the proposal of the Central government to reduce the ceiling on agricultural land. “There is no question of accepting the proposal of the Centre to further reduce the ceiling on agriculture land,” revenue minister N Raghuveera Reddy  said on Friday.

The state government received a copy of the “Draft National Land Reforms Policy” following which chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held discussions with the revenue minister and other officials.

“The state government had already implemented all the provisions mentioned in the Draft Land Reforms Bill,” Raghuveera Reddy claimed.

The Centre has proposed in the draft policy to put a ceiling on agricultural land up to 5 to 10 acres, if irrigation facility is available. It was also proposed to put a ceiling on agri land up to 10-15 acres, if it is rain-fed. “We are not here to accept the proposal,” Raghuveera Reddy said.

Basing on the availability of irrigation facility, locality and other aspects, one can hold 10-54 acres in the state. “Farmers are empowered to hold a maximum of 54 acres in the state depending on various factors. These factors will vary from district to district,” Raghuveera Reddy said.

“Further reduction on ceiling on agricultural lands will make land holding smaller. The small land holdings are not viable for farmers. The state government took up a massive farm-mechanisation programme. Mechanisation is not possible if the land holdings are too small. Despite the ceiling of 54 acres, the state government is planning to encourage farmers for cooperative farming to make agriculture profitable,” the revenue minister explained.

However, the state government was ready to implement another major proposal of the draft land reform policy. “If there is no land available to distribute among landless poor, the bill proposes to construct a house and allot 10 cents of land. We demand the Centre to increase the unit cost of houses constructed under IAY from the present `75,000 to `2 lakh. This proposal is acceptable to us,” the minister said.

The other provisions of the draft bill like modernisation and computerisation of land records, distribution of surplus lands among the poor and others were implemented by the state government, Raghuveera said.

He added that so far, 78 lakh acres of land was distributed in the state and another 1.3 lakh acres was identified for distribution soon.

After the Agriculture Land Ceiling Act came into force, only 5.6 lakh acres were identified as surplus and there would be no use of further reducing the ceiling on agriculture lands. The proposal would have adverse affect on farmers, he opined.

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