BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State Government claimed to have settled forest land in favour of nearly three lakh persons, in many cases the beneficiaries are yet to get record of rights (pattas).
This came to notice during field verification in villages covered under the Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP). The livelihood support programme is being implemented in 1,042 villages in 30 of the most backward blocks in seven districts of south-west region of the State.
According to available data, identification of landless families is complete in 906 villages while field verification is over in 233 villages by February. Camp courts were held in 136 villages and distribution of pattas (land right) was completed in five villages covering 370 households.
Ironically, in the villages surveyed there are about 52,000 households with 20,780 absolute landless. None of these households has homestead or agriculture land. About 5,100 households have less than two decimals of homestead land while 11,800 households are either landless or having agriculture land less than one standard acre, OTELP sources said.
The sources claimed that field verification and camp courts are expected to be over by June. Efforts are on to distribute patta for both homestead and farmland to about 25,000 households by month-end.
While Bhoomi Sanjojaks (community resource persons) expedite the process of allocation, the district revenue administration plays a crucial role not only in prioritising land allocation as one of Government’s top agendas but also ensuring that land is allocated to the poor and the most deserving in a time bound manner, a senior OTELP officer said.
Besides land allocation, OTELP also plans for an integrated convergence programme that will benefit these families with ongoing livelihood promotion initiatives of the State.
OTELP has initiated the comprehensive land allocation programme in collaboration with Rural Development Institute (RDI) to ensure that all poor landless households have access to and control over homestead and farmland.
The programme is being implemented in the OTELP project districts since last year. The mainstay of the programme is the involvement of Community Resource Persons or Bhoomi Sanjojaks who are village youths trained to provide additional capacity to Revenue Department in securing land for the poorest in a time frame. About 550 CRPs are engaged in the OTELP programme villages.
The Government is planning to upscale the programme to 118 tribal sub-blocks shortly.