When tilling of land became a major avocation of people, the area brought under cultivation by the tiller ‘belonged' to him. As the population grew, cultivable land had to be shared. The administrative machinery used land as a means to collect revenue.

Land records came into existence when geographical identification of ‘controlled land' became necessary. Village maps became the basic records of land. When villages became towns and cities, the municipalities and corporations improved the land-recording documentation.

Land development for setting up industrial, commercial, and residential establishments was initiated by the compulsions of growth. While policy will be laid down by the rulers through parliament and legislatures, it the responsibility of the administrators to implement them in a fair and equitable manner.

But the administrative set-up, at times, ignores many deviations/violations. Commercialisation of land for amassing wealth has become the order of the day. The tillers lose their livelihood in the name of prosperity. Following some fundamental rules may reduce the pressure on land:

One family, one house policy. Industries' land requirements to be limited to 20-30 per cent of urban/semi-urban area

No discretion for deviations for any authority unless such acts are publicly debated.

Officials and political leadership to be equally responsible for scams

Social audit as part of land deals — all deals to stand public scrutiny.

Reserve at least 50 per cent of cultivable land for agriculture.

Environmental guidelines to be followed.

K. SUKUMARAN

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