300 women still await possession -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

300 women still await possession

By: Ramzan Chandio

KARACHI – The female farmers, who are given state land free of cost, are facing number of problems ranging from possession of land, arranging of agriculture inputs, irrigation water provision and other issues in Sindh, sources told The Nation .

Though, the Sindh government has distributed thousands of acres state land to the farmers especially women free of cost in the province, but the process is not as smooth as it seems because of post-distribution hurdles.

Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI), a non-government organisation, which is working on the Women’s Land Rights Programme in five districts including Thatta, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Benazirabad have found number of flaws in government’s state land distribution policy.

Abdul Sattar Zangejo, programme officer of PDI, told The Nation that land allottees especially women are facing post-distribution problems in various districts.

Some 9,220 acres state land has been distributed among the 990 farmers including 983 female farmers and 7 male farmers free of cost in Thatta district. However, over 50 per cent women allottees have not got possession of land as influential persons have filed applications before revenue officers concerned taking plea of land under their possession for cultivation.

According to Sattar Zangejo, about 300 women are still waiting for the possession of their allotted land in Thatta district, while other allottees are also facing hurdles in possession of their land, water scarcity, agriculture inputs to cultivate crops and other problems.

A female farmer Aasia Mallah from Jati-District Thatta got state land free of cost, but when she with her family members went to get possession, the influential persons attacked and forced them to leave the village, Zangejo narrated the story. Even, the revenue officers of district also gave verdict in favour of the influential persons about the possession of state land.

Currently, the PDI is pursuing the case of Aasia Mallah and filed a case with the Revenue Department of Sindh government for physical possession of land in favour of the female farmer, he said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of PDI called upon Advisor to Chief Minister on Media Syed Waqar Mehdi on Friday at Chief Minister House and briefed him about the problems faced by land grantees women in different districts of the Sindh especially in Thatta district.

PDI representatives informed the advisor that a large number of women have still not received their land ownership documents and many are facing problems in locating their lands as Revenue Department officials have still not demarked their piece of land. PDI programme officer also presented the copy of PDI study on the issue in the land distribution programme.

Mehdi said PPP government would never allow any official to deprive poor women land grantees from their allotted lands. He added that it was milestone programme launched by PPP government and history is witnessed that only PPP leadership launched this mega programme and our mission is to empower poor women.

He said that Sindh government was following the philosophy of PPP slain chairperson Shaheed Benazir Bhutto under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister himself visited far-flung areas of the Sindh and distributed lands among poor women.

He added that 20 per cent post land distribution problems highlighted by revenue department should be resolved soon. Mehdi further said the PPP government never compromised on this mega land distribution issue and government will take stern action against those influential persons who have occupied the land allotted to poor women by Sindh government.

He welcomed the suggestion given by PDI resolving issues of women land grantees and lauded the PDI role for highlighting the issues of women land grantees. He said that sitting government had welcomed civil society organisation suggestion and always pay heed to their voices.

PDI delegation told him that PDI is providing legal support to poor women land grantees and its responsibility of Sindh government to remove flaws to make successful the next phase of land distribution programme to eradicate poverty from different districts of rural Sindh and empowered women folk in rural areas.
Source: The Nation
Date:3/13/2010