Landless Women Get A Helping Hand

Published: 16th October 2015 04:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th October 2015 04:53 AM   |  A+A-

BALASORE:  A landless and unmarried Jayamani Naik (43) of Raruan area in Mayurbhanj district was worried about her future until she was handed over a piece of land where she can either build a house or start farming for livelihood.

A resident of Tilakuti village, Jayamani remained unmarried after her parents died and her brothers did not care to provide her a shelter. Now she has a land provided by the district administration through the Women Support Centre (WSC) programme and can apply for a house under Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY).

Similar was the situation for Gurubari Pingua (48), a widow of Mendhamundi village who had no land in her name and found herself in a tight spot after the death of her husband.

A mother of two, she has now received land patta (title) under the WSC programme and can build her own house, get caste and residence certificates required for sending her children to school.

At a time when the world is observing International Day of Rural Women on Thursday to draw attention towards the success of rural women, Mayurbhanj district has carved a niche for itself by empowering the rural poor, dispossessed single women with land rights in an innovative way.

Sources said the district administration on Tuesday distributed 125 land pattas to single women of economically weaker section who are unmarried, lived alone after their parents died, disowned by their in-laws, widows, abandoned, divorced, disabled and the 30-plus unmarried women through the WSC supported by Landesa, a global non-profit organisation working towards securing land rights of the poorest people.

The district has so far distributed more than 1,400 land titles to such rural women. These women are also vulnerable as they are often ill-treated by those on whom they depend for food and shelter.

 Mayurbhanj Collector Rajesh Pravakar Patil said WSC programme is an empowering institutional mechanism where community support is in-built. It aims at identifying single dispossessed women and securing their land and livelihood so that they can live a dignified life.

The support centres are functioning from each tehsil office of the district as exclusive cells to address rural women’s land rights.

Experts working in the field felt despite the State’s pragmatic efforts to provide land to the landless, land rights of women, particularly single women,have remained an area of concern which needs attention.

“The WSC programme is exclusively designed to identify the single women as family units. Anganwadi workers have been engaged for their identification by door-to-door survey in villages. Landesa is supporting us in implementing the programme,” the Collector said.

 Besides Mayurbhanj, the programme is successfully running in three other districts of Ganjam, Koraput and Kalahandi. The State has now 76 centres. As per survey by Anganwadi workers in these four districts, single women constitute 12 per cent of rural women population.

Computerised Management Information System (MIS) has been introduced to create tehsil-wise database of all single women.

“While we are targeting to complete the land allocation by December-end, the single women will be covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY),” Patil added.


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