Land distribution among landless peasants in Sindh: Revenue department to set up special cell for complaints about land

Karachi, December 08, 2014 (PPI-OT): The Sindh government would soon set up a special cell in the revenue department to receive complaints from the women peasants, who were provided agriculture land under the land distribution scheme, said Secretary General of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Sindh Senator Taj Haider here on Monday.

He was speaking as chief guest at Provincial Level Lobbying Meeting “Distribution of Land among Landless Women farmers in Sindh province, organized by The Change Organisation (TCO), in collaboration with Women Right to Land Network and Action aid. Some women beneficiaries from Thatta district also attended the meeting.

Taj Haider said he would direct the Senior Member of Board of Revenue (Sindh) to set up a cell where civil society can also send their recommendations or lodge complaints regarding problems of peasant women.

“We are computerizing the land records in Sindh and as soon as we receive the data, more land would;6 be provided to the poor and deserving peasant women in rural areas,” he said adding that there is plenty of land available in Sindh but most of land has been encroached about by the influential people.

Talking about land reforms, he said the Sindh government has withdrawn the earlier comments on the land reforms in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a case by Abid Manto challenging the decision of the Supreme Court‘s Shariat Appellate Bench against Land Reforms. “The previous stance of the Sindh government on the land reforms was shameful and now a new version has been submitted in the Supreme Court, which supports the land reforms.”

Taj Haider said the provincial government is seriously working on permanent solution of Thar’s water problems. Instead of providing wheat to drought hit people, the provincial government is focusing on development of the area.

Estimated 1.5 billion acre feet underground water is available in Thar desert, which is being utitised for drinking and agriculture purposes. The government is setting up two big Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants to provide safe drinking water to the people of Mithi and Islamakot towns.

With a capacity of 2 million gallon per day a big RO plant working on solar energy will start functioning near Mithi from 27th December. Over 100 villages around Mithi would be provided water from that plant.

Similarly, from January of the next year, about 1.5 mgp RO plant would be operative in Islamkot town and water would also be available to Nangarparkar towns and scores of surrounding villages. Total 325 sites are identified for installation of RO plans, out of which work in progress has already started at 317 places. We hope over 225 plants would start operating by end of this year. Till July 2015 total 750 RO plants are being installed in Thar desert.

To solve the water shortage problem of the other arid areas like Katcho in Dadu district the provincial government is providing 100 solar water pumps in Johi area. Now land can also be cultivated with the help of solar water pumps.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sono Khangharani, CEO of Hisar Foundation said the land distribution scheme of Sindh government was a unique scheme for poverty eradication, which have benefitted thousands of peasant families in Sindh.

Initially some poor males were also provided agriculture land, but in the second phase the entire available agriculture land was distributed among landless women peasants. He said; 6 after the distribution, he was involved in impact assessment of that scheme and it was proved that majority of women have got benefits from it.

He regretted that concentration of land has increased in the recent years, particularly after introduction of devolution plan by General Pervaiz Musharraf’s government. The ex- Nazims had illegally encroached the agriculture lands in their areas and after few years they have become big landlords of their respective areas. A new phase of land grabbing has started after the now defunct district government system.

Dr. Khangharani said it is unfortunate that most of the forest land is also under encroachment. Politicians who are in the government or in the opposition have mostly encroached the agriculture land. The encroached land should be taken back by the provincial government, he suggested.

Tahir Iqbal of Legal Rights Forum said that he had conducted a survey of the beneficiaries of the land distribution scheme and that survey report had found that lives of most of beneficiaries have been changed. In some areas, the beneficiaries have still not received the possession of their allotted land because it was encroached upon by influential landlords of the areas.

He said the irrigation department is not providing water to the lands of the women beneficiaries. Irrigation department should also be made a part of this scheme, he added. Mr. Ishak Soomro The Change Organisation said in the two phases of land distribution, total 51,000 acres of land were distributed among 6100 women peasants in Sindh. This programme was purely for women and their were empowered due to the scheme.

“We don’t know why the distribution of land among landless peasants was stopped by the provincial government. For the next phase more land was to be distributed among landless peasant women, he added. Ms. Uroosa Khatti of Actionaid said that her organization is working for the rights of women peasants. She introduced some women beneficiaries who complained that they are unable to cultivate their lands because of non-availability of irrigation water.

For more information, contact:
The Information Department
Block-95 Sindh Secretariat 4-B,
Opposite Sindh Assembly Building Karachi
Phone: +92-021-99204401, +92-021-99204423
Fax: +92-021-99202609, +92-021-99204417

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