Home BIG STORY Identification of Odisha sharecroppers mired in controversy

Identification of Odisha sharecroppers mired in controversy

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 24: 

A day after Revenue Secretary Mona Sharma highlighted that Odisha Government is providing agricultural input subsidy to sharecroppers identified by the village committee and RI (Revenue Inspector) report, opposition parties today trained their guns at the government over the legality and transparency of the process.

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“There are provisions in the ‘Orissa Land Reforms Act’ that mandates that no man can cultivate his land through sharecroppers. This is illegal. How can the government claim that they are providing aid to the sharecroppers! Until the act is amended, the sharecroppers won’t get even a single rupee as assistance. This is nothing but politics,” said Leader of Opposition in the Odisha Assembly Narasingha Mishra.

Interestingly, while the government 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’, the committee is yet to submit its report.

Speaking on the issue, BJP went a step further and alleged that the government is diverting the funds to the workers of the ruling party in the name of assistance.

“The government is yet to lay down the mechanism for identification of sharecroppers. How can they receive any assistance without being identified? We urge the government to release the list of beneficiaries, the amounts they have received and the details of landowners who employed them. This is nothing but a method to benefit their party workers,” accused BJP Vice President Pratap Sarangi.

BJP Spokesperson Amar Prasad Satapathy tried to defend his party.

“If the government tried to help a sharecropper, this is not a violation of law. The law nowhere denies the government to provide assistance to the sharecroppers. We disburse assistance to farmers only on cases when they have been identified,” said Satapathy.

Notably, the Special Relief Commissioner had asked all the district collectors to disburse the agricultural input subsidy based on a framework prepared by the government during instances of natural calamity. The framework suggests identifying the sharecroppers based on the recommendations of the village committee, the Sarpanch and the RI.

The Cooperative Secretary, on the other hand, has studied the systems in place in other states such as Andhra Pradesh for sharecroppers and has submitted a report to the government, informed Cooperative Minister Damodar Rout.