The Rajasthan Cabinet on Monday put its seal of approval on a controversial decision to give khatedari rights to over 30,000 farmers occupying the custodian land in Alwar, Bharatpur, Hanumangarh and Sriganganagar districts, vacated mostly be those driven out of the State during the Partition, by paying a nominal regularisation fee.

The farmers, whose ancestors were allotted the custodian land, were earlier required to pay 25 per cent of the market prices fixed by district-level committees along with additional charges for irrigated and waste land. After the Cabinet decision, they would get the khatedari rights on the payment of Rs.2,000 a bigha for irrigated land and Rs.1,000 a bigha for other categories of land.

Huge tracts of agricultural land were vacated in the State's border districts in 1947 during the Partition when thousands of farmers were driven out to Pakistan. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, presiding over the Cabinet meeting here, said the decision would result in transferring the valid khatedari rights for 20,000 hectares of land.

In another decision, the State Cabinet converted the Kumbhalgarh and Todgarh Raoli wildlife sanctuaries in southern Rajasthan into a national park to promote tourism and conserve endangered species of wild animals in the area. The national park, measuring 508.60 sq km, will cover areas falling under Pali, Udaipur and Rajsamand districts.

Child adoption leave

According to an official release, the Cabinet decided to sanction 180 days' “child adoption leave” to women Government employees adopting a child of less than a year. Besides, a new provision was made for paying financial assistance to the victims of rape and murder and for rehabilitation with an initial allocation of Rs.10 crore under the head.

A Cabinet sub-committee would be appointed shortly to decide the matters related to iron and silica mining lease allotments to two big corporate houses. The State Cabinet also decided to establish a Skills and Livelihood Mission to create more employment opportunities for the youths. A council and a corporation would later be appointed under the Mission.

The release said the other decisions pertained to waiving of interest on loans for 10 municipal councils in view of their poor financial condition, allocation of Rs.650 crore to the Jaipur Metro during the next three years for purchasing locomotives and naming the Government College at Sagwada in Dungarpur district after the region's veteran leader and former Minister, the late Bhikha Bhai.