Special Correspondent

Reservations expressed by a section of farmers

Old statute of 1955 to be replacedNew legislation would protect the interests of the farmers: Govt.

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government has decided to enact a new Tenancy Act, replacing the old statute of 1955, amid reservations expressed by a section of farmers about the efficacy of the proposed move.

While the Government has maintained that the new legislation would protect the interests of farmers in the changed scenario of rural development, the Dalit farmers are apprehensive that it would deprive them of the protection against forcible transfer of land to those belonging to higher castes. Dalit leader and president of the State unit of People's Union for Civil Liberties, Than Singh, said here on Monday that the State Government, on the pretext of reforming the tenancy law, would do away with the provisions relating to restriction on the sale and mortgage of land of Scheduled Castes and dilute the clauses on eviction.

Mr. Singh said the safeguards, such as summary procedure for removing encroachments and ceiling on land holdings, may not find a place in the new Tenancy Act. This, he affirmed, would harm the poor Dalits the most, as their land would be acquired at throw-away prices to make way for big commercial ventures and benefit real estate agents.

The State Government's Revenue Department on Monday invited suggestions and comments from the farmers' organisations and public at large for preparing the draft of the proposed legislation. An official release stated here that the suggestions could be sent to the department by January 31.

Handicraft Expo

The National Handicraft Expo-2006, which began here on Saturday, has displayed handicraft products from 22 States, providing exposure to craftspersons to the latest trends in the market. The Rajasthan Industries Minister, Narpat Singh Rajvi, inaugurating the expo, said the event would help the craftsmen understand new techniques and acquire skills from each other.

The expo has been organised by the Rajasthan Government's Rural Non-Farm Development Agency under the aegis of the Central Government's Development Commissioner, Handicrafts. The expo will continue till January 28.