When it comes into being, it appears the Telangana State will have to accord a top priority to the land issues, going by the opinions of respondents of a study currently being conducted by the Landesa, an international NGO working in the field.

The necessity to give importance to land reforms stems from the surprising finding that there is a lack of knowledge on the laws or procedures pertaining to the issue not only within the communities at large but even among the Revenue officials.

Land Caravan

"The study called Land Caravan is aimed at evolving a draft land policy for Telangana based on interaction with various stakeholders like farmers, SHG women, activists working in the area, Revenue Department staff, tribal headmen, advocates and students. This draft will be submitted to the government in due course so that it can be enacted based upon the further works on the findings," discloses M. Sunil Kumar, the State director of the NGO which was formerly known as Rural Development Institute.

There are four Landesa teams currently touring the region, asking hundreds of stakeholders as to what changes, they feel, are required in land reforms when Telangana State is formed. The team in Adilabad comprising Landesa legal manager E. Sudershan and executive Rajkumar and Adilabad DRDA legal coordinator B. Ravi is studying the land issues, with the focus on tribal communities in this district as well as those in Khammam and Warangal.

Among the note worthy suggestions made by the respondents in the study is the one made by Revenue officials in Telangana, both serving and retired. They say all the lands in the region should be resurveyed in order to get a proper picture so that land reforms can be implemented properly.

Another concern expressed by tribal people in villages is their inability to dispose their lands in the agency areas to non tribal people as laid down by the Land Transfer Regulation Act 1 of 1970. Also, Scheduled Caste communities of notified villages also want the agency regulations relaxed at least for them to create employment in tribal villages.