TELANGANA

Land scheme for dalits a failure, says study

Land purchase for dalits, a much publicised scheme by the Telangana government, has fallen flat, going by the results achieved after four budgets.

According to the data taken from the SC Development department’s website, the number of beneficiaries stands at mere 4,596 in all the 31 districts, and the extent of land distributed among them is 11,968 acres. Of this, 1,466 acres are yet to be registered in the beneficiaries’ names.

As per the scheme, the government has to ensure three acres of land each for about three lakh landless dalit households, and three lakh more households which have land less than three acres. To buy land wherever government lands are not available, the department has sanctions to spend up to Rs. 7 lakh per acre.

Findings

Findings of a study carried out by the Dalit Bahujan Front reveal that during 2016-17, land was not purchased in Jagtial, Gadwal, Kamareddy, Nagarkurnool, Nizamabad, Peddapalli, Warangal Urban, Sircilla, and Siddipet.

In 2017-18 too, land was not purchased in nine districts, Sangareddy, Ranga Reddy, Warangal Urban, Yadadri Bhongir, Peddapalli, Nizamabad, Mahabubnagar, Jagtial, and Jangaon.

Even land purchase targets were not set for Hyderabad, Medchal and Bhadradri Kothagudem districts due to surge in land prices, representatives of DBF informed.

In Gudem village of Bejjanki mandal in Siddipet, where two dalit youth attempted suicide demanding allocation of land, it is yet to be distributed, P. Shankar of DBF informed.

Land was offered to the already landed families, and when they rejected the same, land distribution itself was suspended, he alleged.

Inputs not provided

Though irrigation and inputs are part of the package, in many villages, the same was not provided. The study with a sample size of 42 villages has discovered that households in 18 villages did not receive seed, fertilizer and investments, and no irrigation facility was provided for lands in 17 villages.

In five villages where bore-wells were sunk the administration failed to fit pump-sets, the study noted.

Even the land quality was not uniform. There were cases where uncultivable land was distributed, and at times, the land was part of a lake. Some beneficiaries even received land on hillocks.

As Narsimhulu, a beneficiary narrated at the consultation, dalits in Arugonda village of Rajampet mandal in Kamareddy district, got utterly uncultivable land which has a sheet of granite stone beneath.

“When we tried to plough the land, we struck rock. Rainwater does not seep in. We tried sowing soya and cotton, but both failed,” Mr. Narsimhulu said.

Mr.Shankar further explained that most of the lands given to the beneficiaries do not have any source of irrigation, and hence the dalits were compelled to take up cultivation of only rain-fed crops.

“We got only one to 1.5 acre of land each, and pump-sets are not yet fixed even after drilling the bore-well. When we questioned the Assistant Director of SC Corporation, he is asking us to get sanction for pump-set from Electricity authorities,” complained Bitla Raju from Kasulabad village of Siddipet district.