Land Reforms panel for liberalizing land lease law

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Land Reform Committee has recommended to the State government necessary amendments to Odisha Land Reform Act to provide all packages declared by the government to sharecroppers.

The recommendations came after several instances of sharecroppers suffering losses due to natural calamities like flood, cyclone and drought missing out on government assistance.

The committee is of the opinion that there is a need for liberalizing the land leasing laws to benefit the tenants as well as promoting agricultural productivity and equity.

The recommendation of the committee include amendment to land leasing laws within ceiling limits to prevent concentration of land holding. The committee has asked the government to remove the clause of adverse possession as it interferes with free play and market and leads to concealed tenancy.

Another recommendation pointed out that it is important to balance the interests of the land owners with the interests of sharecroppers. The revenue department should constitute a committee of experts in revenue legislation to suggest amendments to the act.

There should be a system for effective implementation of the same like providing Tenant Passbooks and a quick dispute resolution mechanism.

There is a need to record the interests of sharecroppers regarding a specific piece of land. A simple format can be developed in the rules and such agreements can be registered or unregistered.

The law should not regulate the length of the lease or the rent amount or proportion of crop shared in the sharecropping arrangements. This should be left to market forces.

The committee also stresses institutional support for formation of farmers’ groups on the lines of SHGs or JLGs to provide social security while accessing loans.

“The existing law would be amended to ensure the ryots getting all government benefits including agriculture loans from the banks”, Revenue minister Bijayshree Routray said.

The Revenue department has presented these recommendations to the chief minister.