Lower land lease rates, say Dalits
Protests in Sangrur villages over hike; many auctions cancelled
Dalits of many villages of the district have been demanding reserved land from their village common land on lower annual rates than last year. However, directions by the Punjab Panchayat Department to increase the annual lease money had created problems for them. The Dalits are opposing the increase, leading to the cancellation of the ongoing annual auctions of reserved land in several villages.
Two organisations — Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union (KPMU) and the Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC) — are leading protests in many villages. Both organisations claim that there is problem in around 80 villages.
“We are struggling to get reserved land for Dalits in 30 villages on lower rates than last year. The auctions have already been cancelled in many villages and more villages will face problems if the Panchayat Department does not withdraw the direction to increase the annual lease rate,” said Sanjeev Mintu, state president, KPMU.
He said there was tension in many villages, including Batuha, Kila, Kanjhla, Issi, Meemsa, Rajomajhra, Kaheru, Dhandiwal, Harchandpura, Burjgura and Tolewal over the auction of reserved land from the village common land.
“In almost all villages rich farmers want to take reserved land through dummy Dalits. During auction, they ask their Dalit servants to offer higher bid for reserved land. Since our members do not have money, they cannot counter higher bid and the land is taken by servants of rich farmers. Now we are fighting to stop rich farmers in 50 villages from taking reserved land through dummy Dalits,” said Mukesh Malaudh, president, ZPSC.
Their main demands include that the reserved land should only be allotted to self-farming Dalits and not to dummy ones planted by rich farmers and land should be allotted for 33 years on lower rates.
District Development and Panchayat Officer Narbhinder Singh could not be contacted despite repeated calls.
“We have faced opposition in some village due to increase in auction rate. We are trying our best to solve the problem,” said Parvesh Goyal, Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Bhawanigarh.
Courtesy: The Tribune