Bhubaneswar, Aug 19
Odisha tops the list of states in cultivable land shrinkage in the last four years, losing 260,000 hectares between 2007-08 and 2010-11 for non-agricultural use. As many as 20 states recorded a decrease in cultivable land to the extent of 790,000 hectares in these four years with Odisha right on top.
The main cause behind the diversion of cultivable land for non-agricultural purposes being constructions, industries and other development activities, the data were shared by the Agriculture Ministry in response to a question in Lok Sabha on August 13.
The data show that five States have taken some steps to increase the areas under cultivation. Gujarat, Manipur, Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are the States in which the areas of cultivable land have increased during 2007-08 to 2010-11. Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are the top five States where there was decline of the areas under cultivation.
Notably, under the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy (NRRP)-2007, the States were advised that acquisition of agricultural land for non-agricultural use should be kept to the minimum; multi-cropped land should be avoided to the extent possible for such purposes and acquisition of irrigated land to be strictly avoided.
But Odisha and most of the States have not followed the norms set by the Centre under the NRRP.