There was clear division of opinion between Left and other parties on the issue of reducing land ceiling at an all-party meeting held here on Sunday on the draft national policy on land reforms.

The Left parties and farmers organisations backed by them suggested to the State Government to support the Centre’s proposal to reduce land ceiling further to 5-10 acres wet or 10-15 acres dry, while the remaining parties favoured continuation of the existing limit.

Batting for smaller land holdings, the Left parties’ leaders including B.V. Raghavulu (CPI-M), K. Narayana (CPI) and others said studies in developed countries such as France had proved that both productivity and production had gone up with smaller holdings. Such reforms would also help more and more landless poor get land rights, they felt.

However, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao (TDP), M. Kodanda Reddy (Congress), N. Indrasena Reddy (BJP), Nagi Reddy (YSR Congress) and D.V.V.S. Varma (Lok Satta) opposed the Centre’s proposal stating that any reduction in land ceiling would bring down the land holding further seriously affecting the production of food grains.

The Left parties also suggested distribution of huge land holdings being held by real estate and corporate companies. Making ‘jamabandi’ on more regular basis, setting up land bank and a land reforms commission, giving land rights to cultivators of endowments and religious organisations’ lands were among other suggestions made by them.

In his response, Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy stated that the State Government would soon send a report on the meeting to the Centre by recommending the majority opinion. He assured steps on improving coordination between Forest and Revenue Departments to prevent violations of 1/70 Act and minimising the sufferings of tribal people.