Amendment of Odisha Land Reforms Act sought to empower tenants

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the rising farmer suicide cases in Odisha, an expert group has recommended the State government to amend the Odisha Land Reforms (OLR) Act for empowerment of tenants and sharecroppers as well to minimise their insecurities in case of crop loss due to natural calamities.

The group has proposed provision of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to sharecroppers for the procurement of paddy and other products in case of crop loss due to natural calamities. It noted that the amended OLR Act should have a ‘price protection’ mechanism for the sharecroppers in adverse situations and deter them from taking extreme steps.

It suggested that bankers and insurance companies should make special provisions for sharecroppers and implement a proper framework for authorities.

The expert group in the consultation programme initiated by Landsea also suggested that under contingency plan, identified/enlisted sharecroppers should get access to all subsidies for agriculture input from government’s Horticulture department.

Besides, regarding provision of credit facilities from institutional resources, the group suggested linking of paddy procurement to bank loan repayment to minimise the farmer’s apprehension about non-payment of loans.

On OLR amendment, it also suggested that a tenant taking land on lease cannot claim any right of adverse possession over the tenanted land and no civil court shall entertain such kind of dispute. Besides, it has suggested a limit on ceiling on leased land to check on reverse tenancy.

More so, to protect the interest of farmers, the category of land while lease-in or lease –out, should not to be changed from agriculture to any other type.

The expert group suggested revision of existing guidelines by nationalized banks, private sector banks, PACS, cooperatives and make appropriate modification with specific mention provisions for sharecroppers.