Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 25:
At long last the Odisha government plans to bring in a new law to ensure, recognize and protect the rights and interests of sharecroppers in the state.
The state government is planning to bring a new piece of legislation ‘Odisha Land Leasing Act’ to protect the interests of sharecroppers informed Revenue Miniter Bijoyshree Routray after a meeting of the inter-ministerial group on the issue here today.
“We are proposing to have ‘Odisha Land Leasing Act’. Till date sharecroppers were not getting any of the benefits provided by the government, be it insurance, compensation for crop damage due to natural calamities etc and used to go to the land owners. These benefits provided by the government never reached the toiling sharecroppers. For that reason, the state government is planning to bring ‘Odisha Land Leasing Act’,” revealed Routray briefing reporters.
“Opinion of both landowners and sharecroppers will be taken before going for this legislation.Tehsildars will collect their opinion and submit reports within three weeks. A format will be prepared to seek public opinion. This format will be sent to around 30 tehsildars in each district. Each tehsildar after collecting opinion of minimum 50 farmers including sharecroppers and landowners will analyze that and submit a report within three weeks. After analyzing these reports an inter-ministerial group will decide on the contours of the act,” Routray stated.
The Revenue Minister said that the officials who had been to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to study the law there have submitted their report to the government. The government is studying the report and may incorporate certain portions of that which would be beneficial to the farmers of Odisha, he added.
Routray said in the new law emphasis will be laid on better coordination and cooperation between the landowner and the sharecropper.
“Under the new law, no land owner will harbour apprehensions that his/her land would be usurped by the sharecropper. The new law will only provide some benefits to his/her sharecropper. The new law will benefit both and lead to higher productivity,” the Minister said.
Notably, the state government had formed a high-level committee back in 2013 to find out methods to protect the interests of sharecroppers and list out amendments needed to the ‘Orissa Land Reforms Act’.