Karnataka initiates policy to provide land to the landless

BELAGAVI: At 92, freedom fighter and activist, H S Doreswamy seems to have not lost the zeal to fight for equality in the society. As the state legislature began on November 21, Doreswamy began his day and night satyagraha to force the government to provide land to the landless. Result: When the opposition parties demanded the government act and bring Doreswamy to the table, chief minister Siddaramaiah was forced to call for a meeting with the nonagenarian and announce a statewide survey of lands available for the landless in Karnataka.

On Wednesday evening, after a meeting with Doreswamy, Siddaramaiah announced he had directed the revenue department to carry out a survey of “possible” and “available” revenue lands which can be distributed to the landless in the state for a livelihood. “We are with the landless and homeless. We will soon conduct the survey and distribute the available land to the landless in the state. Further, I have also constituted a high level committee under the leadership of revenue minister Kagodu Thimappa to oversee and monitor the progress of the entire policy,” he said.

After this statement, Doreswamy told the media that his demands were met and that he was withdrawing his protest. Earlier, during zero hour at the legislative assembly, opposition leaders Jagadish Shettar and YSV Datta urged the government to bring Doreswamy to the table and discuss the issues. “Doreswamy had begun his day and night protest, after he was disappointed by the state government decision to not implement their promise to him even after three months of receiving the memorandum. Even litterateur Devanoor Mahadevappa has now joined the protest. The government must consider his demands,” said Datta.

Responding to this, Siddaramaiah admitted Doreswamy had met him three months ago and had received a memorandum from him.

“He wanted housing for the urban poor and land for the landless in the rural parts of the state. While the government has been committed to provide housing to the urban poor, identifying land for the rural landless is difficult. However, I have already given instructions to the revenue minister and the department to conduct a survey of the available and possible lands to be distributed to the landless. Only when the survey is completed, can we consider how to go about the disbursal,” he said. Doreswamy spoke to the media at the protest site, located a few kilometers from the Suvarna Soudha, and said the government has been giving a “piecemeal” offer every time there has been a demand for such a policy.

“I am going to wait for a consensus on the matter. Senior ministers including Ramesh Kumar and Kagodu Thimappa have assured me that they will raise the issue during their next Cabinet meeting,” said Doreswamy. Having braced himself for the chilly weather in Belagavi, Doreswamy and his team of activists arrived on November 20 for his fast. Setting the site on a hillock opposite the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, Doreswamy was given all the possible assistance from the Belagavi administration and state machinery including medical and other basic facilities for the entire two days.

Credits ET Realty

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