Wednesday, February 4, 2015

OTELP Figure on Landless Tribal Families Leaves Govt Red-faced

The New Indian Express, Feb 4, 2015
BHUBANESWAR: Contrary to the State Government’s claim of providing land rights to about 2.30 lakh landless families, over 71,000 households of six tribal dominated districts are yet to get the benefit.
As per the latest enumeration in 3,274 villages across six districts covered under Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme (OTELP), 92,932 of 2,67,794 families were detected to be landless.
While 35,360 households are absolutely landless (without homestead and farm land), the Government has issued land pattas to 21,899 families. Of these beneficiaries,  19,718 households have received title for homestead land and 2,027 for agricultural land and 154 titles under Forest Rights Act.
Under the Vasundhara scheme, the State Government is providing 4-10 decimal of homestead land and one standard acre of agricultural land to landless people. Although the scheme was launched in 2003, the Government is yet to identify the actual beneficiaries till date.
As per enumeration conducted in 2004-05 across the State, there were 2,49,334 homesteadless families. The Government claimed to have provided homestead land to 2,29,885 families during next three years.
However, the survey conducted by community resource persons (CRP) or Bhumi Sanjojaks, as they are locally called in the OTELP project districts, revealed that the data provided by district revenue officials to the State Government on landless families were false.
Besides, many of the beneficiaries detected by the revenue officials were found to be well off while some of them are relatives or acquaintances of field level revenue officials.
Landesha, a non-profit organisation working for land rights of landless families, has been providing hand holding support to externally aided OTELP for identification of landless families in the project areas.
Distribution of pattas to remaining beneficiaries in the six districts of Rayagada, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput and Nabarangpur has not been possible due to administrative inertia, sources said.
Official sources said more than 12 lakh families were leased out homestead land. But there is no official figure about the number of families given rights over land leased out and how many of them have constructed houses over the land.
With the successful enumeration of landless families in OTELP districts except Kandhamal, the State Government has decided to replicate the CRP model in 118 tribal sub-plan blocks.

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