Govt to introduce land consolidation act to check migration from hillsdehradun Updated: Apr 17, 2017 20:47 IST
Highland agricultural terrace fields of wheat at Gauchar in Uttarakhand.(iStockphoto)
DEHRADUN: To check migration from the hills, the government will soon introduce a law legalising both partial and voluntary consolidation of scattered landholdings by farmers for giving a fillip to farm produce, agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal said.
“As it is, we have small terraced landholdings dotting the hills. On top of it, these landholdings are scattered, which has made hill farming labour intensive and un-remunerative forcing farmers to migrate,” Uniyal told HT. “To ensure that hill farming becomes lucrative, we’ll either amend the Land Consolidation Act or introduce a new law, which will legalise voluntary and partial consolidation of land by farmers.”
Introducing such a law means that even if 20% of farmers in a village mutually “agree for consolidation of their landholdings”, their efforts will have a legal stamp owing to the provisions of the proposed law.
“In that case, not only will such a partial consolidation of scattered landholdings be legally permissible but their land records will be also changed in keeping with the provisions of the proposed law,” Uniyal said. According to him, once consolidation of landholdings is complete, even if partially, hill farming will cease to be labour intensive and will fetch good returns helping to check migration.
“We will try and include provisions legalising partial or voluntary consolidation of landholdings in the rules of the Land Consolidation Act, which are yet to be formulated,” Uniyal said. “If such a move doesn’t work we will bring in a new law, which will legally permit partial and voluntary consolidation of landholdings.”
Uniyal asserted that partial and voluntary land consolidations didn’t work in the past as they lacked the legal backing of the Land Consolidation Act enacted by the previous Congress government. “The law owing to its lacunae failed to work despite the previous regime’s announcement of an incentive of Rs 1 crore each for villages, if farmers opted for land consolidation.”
The proposed law will be flexible because even if 20% of residents of a village mutually agree for land consolidation. “Such an initiative will have a chain reaction as it will inspire other villagers to opt for land consolidation.”
Uniyal suggested that the proposed law would help allay fears farmers about land consolidation due to ignorance. “Not being educated enough, most hill farmers feel they will lose their scattered lands during consolidation,” he said, adding that the land consolidation law would remove that misconception.