Free distribution of land to Dalits
Scheme creates problems for panchayats
The decision of the Punjab Government to give five marlas free of cost to each Dalit family in villages could lead to a controversy.
Sources said the state government had issued orders to the Panchayat and Rural Development Department to give a piece of land to the Dalits from the land owned by the panchayats.
The orders said if the land owned by the panchayat was away from the village, it should be given near the village after purchasing land after selling the far off land.
The decision of the government will be welcomed by the Dalits but it could prove to be a hindrance in the development of the village. Panchayat-owned land is used for earning income which in turn is used for the development of the village. If the land is used to make houses, the income will be reduced considerably.
The sources said the problem would be more in those villages which did not have much land. Such villages would not be able to give land to the Dalits.
Villages which have sufficient land for cultivation would not face much difficulty. But the number of such villages was less.
Mehma Sarja has about 18 acres of panchayat land and even after distributing land among the Dalits it would have sufficient land for earning income.
The other problem would be shortage of land for building government like hospitals for both humans and animals, water supply projects, sports complexes and purchase centres.
In some villages, basic facilities like cleaning drains and paying wages to labourers would be affected, the sources said.
There are some villages which were unable to generate funds in order to get help from government departments.
They could not generate 50 per cent share which was necessary for getting grants for development purposes.
Khialiwala, Dlahar, Mehma, Harraipur, Jandawala and Bhokhra villages only had panchayat-owned land for bearing development expenses.
A sarpanch on condition of anonymity said although the scheme was good in spirit, it was not practical.