TAMIL NADU

Govt. ready to lease wasteland to SHGs

CHENNAI Jan. 28. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, today said the Government was prepared to lease out wasteland to self-help groups if they came forward to invest and convert them into cultivable land.

Intervening during a debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor's address, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the Government did not intend to give away the land to landless farmers as demanded since agricultural inputs were needed to start cultivation. The Government was not in a position to invest in converting these to cultivable land. The land could be entrusted only to those who could afford to spend.

When Jayakumar (Congress) pointed out that Central funds were available for wasteland development, the Chief Minister said the Government was aware of this; but the Union Government would not support development of 20 lakh hectares of land. Also, contrary to the members' belief, most of the land was private patta land and not poramboke.

When the member said the State Government delayed in announcing all districts, except Chennai, as `drought-hit', she intervened to say that there was no delay. The State could make the announcement only after the meteorological office declared that the northeast monsoon had withdrawn; the State could not pre-decide this. Hence, after this declaration, the Government examined the issue.

When Dr. Jayakumar raised the question of efficiency in dealing with the crisis, Ms. Jayalalithaa said she undertook a tour of the delta districts to see for herself the situation prevailing there. She announced a Rs.164-crore relief package, a food for work programme and launched the farmers' noon meal scheme.

Recommended for you