Disadvantage Dalits as panchayat land auction rules changed in Punjab : The Tribune India

Disadvantage Dalits as panchayat land auction rules changed in Punjab

Disadvantage Dalits as panchayat land auction rules changed in Punjab

Picture for representational purpose only.



Tribune News Service

Vishav Bharti

Chandigarh, May 1

The Department of Rural Development and Panchayats is set to take away Dalits’ hard-earned right of one-third share in the panchayat land by making amendments to the auction rules.

Rights protected

We will not only ensure Dalits get their land, but also utilise revenue generated from the reserved land for their welfare. — Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Minister for rural development and Panchayats


2018 norms go

  • Auction of one-third reserved panchayat land on a different day, in a Dalit locality
  • No annual hike in minimum auction price; can now be increased by 5-20%
  • Preference in auction to five or more Dalits for cooperative farming
  • Lease of land for up to three years to Dalits

As per the Village Common Land (Regulation) Act, 1961, one-third of the panchayat land can be leased out only to the Dalits. However, it is common practice in Punjab for upper-caste landlords to get the land in the name of their Dalit ‘pawns’.

For over a decade, Dalit organisations have been protesting these practices and in 2018, they got several changes made to the rules. These included auction of the one-third land reserved for the community on a different day, that too in a Dalit locality.

Besides, there was no provision for increase in the minimum auction price annually. As per the new notification, the auction price can be increased by 5 per cent to 20 per cent.

As per the 2018 notification, if five or more Dalits wanted to take land on lease for cooperative farming, they were given preference in auction. There was also provision for lease of land for three years, besides preventing upper caste members from using Dalits as pawns to get reserved land through auction.

The department, in its fresh notification issued last month, has dropped all conditions incorporated after the long struggle of Dalits in 2018, which led to several violent clashes as well. Mukesh Malaud, president, Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Commmitee, said: “We will gherao the CM’s residence on May 12.”

#Dalits #kuldeep singh dhaliwal

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