The successful piloting of land rights to tribals under Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme (OTELP) has prompted the State Government to extend the scheme to over 17,000 more villages in the tribal-inhabited districts. Simultaneously, the State Government has formulated a set of modalities for implementation.
Under the OTELP, the Government had collaborated with Rural Development Institute to launch the scheme through which landless tribals were identified and conferred tenurial rights. In the pilot and its subsequent stages, the scheme, which uses community resource persons (CRPs) or bhumi sanjojaks for executing the programme, was implemented in seven districts where it covered 1,042 villages.
Buoyed by the response and success, Government has extended land allocation scheme to an additional 17,974 villages in all 118 tribal sub-plan (TSP) blocks of 12 districts. These villages would be covered in three overlapping phases over a period of five years. The first phase will see a coverage of 6,094 villages and it will be executed by 2013 and include the 1,042 villages already taken up under OTELP, the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Department said. The second phase will start from 2014 and cover 3,970 villages by 2015. The third and last phase will cover 7,910 villages. The last leg will start from 2016 and end in 2017.
While the first two phases with 61 TSP blocks shall cover the seven OTELP districts of Koraput, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Gajapati, Rayagada, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur, the last phase will be implemented in all 57 TSP blocks of five non-OTELP districts such as Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Balasore and Sundargarh.
For implementation of the programme, the landless or homesteadless shall be identified as per the definition of the Odisha Government Land Settlement Act, 1962 and the Project Administrator, Integrated Tribal Development Agency will be the implementing authority.