Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Baripada, May 27:
257 single women including widowed, deserted, differently – abled and unmarried (30 plus age) women, received legal titles to small pieces of land through Women Support Centre (WSC) programme in Bagiriposi tehsil of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district on Tuesday.
Distributing the land titles to these single women at a formal ceremony, Collector Rajesh Prabhakar Patil said secure right to land will not only provide these women the legal right to access, use and control land, but will give them an opportunity to improve their lives through access to different government services and programmes of the government.
The Collector commended Landesa’s efforts in securing land rights of these dispossessed single women by providing consistent support in designing and implementing Women Support Centre programme in the district.
As per government provisions, a poor landless ‘family’ is eligible to get land from the government’s land programmes. Single women are considered as separate ‘families’ only when they live on their own; when a single woman lives with parents or relatives, she is not considered eligible to get land. However, socio-cultural conditioning in rural areas compels single women to live with their relatives and these women do not get counted as landless.
To secure land and social security entitlements of single women, Landesa, a global non-profit organisation, provides support to district administrations in four districts of Odisha – Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Koraput and Kalahandi – for designing and implementing an exclusive programme called the Women Support Centre programme. With Landesa’s support, 76 Women Support Centres are operating from each of the tehsil offices across these districts.
The programme uses a robust enumeration method to count such ‘uncounted’ landless single women as ‘family units’ by using services of Anganwadi workers and facilitates allocation of land to them. As per data collected by the Anganwadi workers in four districts, about 11% of the total rural women population constitute such ‘uncounted’ single women, which cannot be overlooked.