Punjab likely to impose registration fee on agriculture land leasing
Chandigarh – Land leasing of agriculture land in Punjab is likely to be now in paid-form even for farmers as the state government is going to introduce Land Lease Act in the near future. A draft of eight pages has been prepared and submitted to the Chief Secretary for approval. A fee will be paid by the land owner and purchaser during the registration of lease before the concerned Revenue Registrar, according to proposed draft. But the act will provide greater security to tenant farmers as well as landowners against any cheating or fraud. Sources in the government said that the proposed bill will be presented in the upcoming Budget session for the approval of the house after Cabinet approval. The development is part of the land reform, initiated by state government. Till today, there are number of cases in the different courts in which the land tenant or landowner has been cheated. Even the number of agriculture debt labourers has been committed suicides after being cheated or deficit in farming, after getting lease of land. In Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir, there is prohibition of leasing out of agricultural land. Leasing out of agricultural land is allowed in Telangana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha only by certain categories of landowners such as disabled, minors, widows, defense personnel etc.Leasing out of agricultural land is not banned in Punjab, Haryana and few other states. But there are no system of formal agreement between tenants and landowner in the above such states. Thus, the informal tenants are most insecure as they either have short duration oral lease or get rotated from plot to plot each year. Informal tenants do not have access to institutional credit, insurance and other support services, which affect productivity of land cultivated by them. Due to legal restrictions, many landowners, specially having small piece of land, prefer to keep their land fallow due to the fear of losing land right if they lease out.Keeping these things in mind, Punjab government is going to introduce the act soon. According to draft, there will be written agreement between land owner and tenant, in which all terms and conditions will be written like duration of lease, lease amount and due date which it has to paid, terms and conditions for the renewal or extension of lease and automatic expiry of the lease. According to draft, the proposed act will give recognisation and legitimacy to all land tenants including share croppers, hence they will be able to access insurance bank credit and bank credit against pledging of expected output.Tehsildar will be the competent authority and appeal will be before the DC against Tehsildar’s decision, only. According to the Act, there will be no chance of any cheating or fraud according to proposed Act. Sources said that a meeting was held three days ago before submitting the draft of the proposed act in the office of Chief Secretary. Before preparing the draft, the officers had studied the land leasing act of Andhra Pradesh thoroughly. Data received from sources reveal that 65 percent farmer in the state own up to 10 acres of land. It is also disclosed that approximately 60 per cent farmers are include in leasingin and leasing out the agriculture land and the area, 1.45 lakh acre, under shamlat is also auctioned for lease every year of after two years. According to proposed act, a nominal fee will be charged from the both parties, tenants and landowners, but how much, it will be decided later.
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