Forest Dept. evicts them from land they cultivated in Dongarampur
These landless Dalit families are still searching for their land allotted under the Land Ceiling Act. Paramesh, a Dalit farmer from Dongarampur village in Raichur taluk, has been running from pillar to post for the last one year in Raichur to find his 2.26 acres of land that his father Jambappa had been allotted under the Act about a decade ago. He is yet to succeed in his endeavour.
The problem started a year ago when officials of the Forest Department evicted Paramesh and two other farmers from the land that they had been cultivating for the last seven years or so, believing that the land was allotted to them under the Act.
They realised that something was wrong only when the Forest Department asked them to vacate claiming that the land was not the one that they had been allotted.
As per the documents The Hindu has secured, an excess land of 9.27 acres in survey number 84 and 0.39 acres in survey number 82 of Dongarampur village have been confiscated from a village landlord who earlier owned it, and allotted to Janglappa, Jambappa, Burrala Savareppa, Kareppa and Mahadeva, all Dalit and landless farmers of the village.
The order of Assistant Commissioner issued on June 14, 2004 confirmed the transaction. Even the related land records downloaded from the government’s website a few days ago confirmed the ownership of these five families over two acres of land each.
Yet, they are not in possession of the land.
“The village landlord had shown us uncultivable and barren land beside the hill as the one that had been allotted to us. We believed him and started cultivating it. Since the land was insufficient, only three of the five beneficiaries started farming. The other two did not take up farming on their own but continued to toil as agricultural labour. One fine morning, after almost seven years of cultivation, the Forest Department evicted us claiming that the land belonged to it,” Paramesh said.
Paramesh has alleged that the landlord forged documents, sold the land allotted to him and others without their knowledge to the district administration for construction of Aasare houses for the 2009 flood victims.
“The district administration, in turn, handed over the land to the Mata Amritanandamayi Trust that latter built houses for the flood victims on the same land,” he said.
“We have nothing to do with the farmers. As per a court order, we have handed over excess land to the government which has, in turn, allotted it to landless Dalit farmers. Now, we are not responsible if they don’t know where their land is,” Venkatarama Reddy, original landowner, said.
“Thousands of Dalit farmers across the State, particularly in the Hyderabad-Karnataka area, face the same problem. In many cases, the original owners are still enjoying the excess land that had been confiscated and allotted to landless peasants by the State government,” Kumar Samatala, State committee member of Karnataka Janashakthi, said.
He was in the forefront of a struggle by beneficiaries of the Land Ceiling Act whose allotted land continued to be enjoyed by the original owners for the last 30 years.
He demanded that the government conduct a comprehensive survey of land distributed under the Act to find out whether or not beneficiaries are actually enjoying the land.