In an unprecedented move, the government has allowed building of public assets on private land of tribals from the Members of Parliament's local area development fund.
A large number of MPs have petitioned the ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) that they should be allowed to sanction funds for building public services on private land in tribal areas. The reason given was that there is not enough government land available to build public services.
Huge tracks of forest area around tribal villages have been given to people tilting the land under the Forest Rights Act. As a result, there is not much land available with the government to build public services like schools, dispensaries and roads. And this has resulted in MPs facing a problem in utilizing their funds in the tribal areas.
To resolve their dilemma, the ministry has directed all district magistrates to allow utilization of the MPLAD funds for creating the community assets on private land provided the land owner agrees for the same.
"It has been suggested that on the undertaking of the land owners the work under the MPLADS may be allowed," the direction issued by the ministry said. The provision would work in cases where transfer of land title was not possible.
It would mean that the MPLAD would be able to spend money on private land as it is done in some other government schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).
However, there would be a small exception.
The district administration will have to take undertaking from the land owner that he or she will not claim any right on such land or on the assets created once it has been used for creating a government asset. The land owner will have to allow free access to people to use the public service asset.