Datiya- In a village in Datiya district, Madhya Pradesh, 105 Adivasi families with allocated land find themselves living in makeshift shelters as if landless. Despite being given land by the government, these families are forced to work as laborers outside the village. Shockingly, even those who were granted land titles 30 years ago continue to be denied access to their rightful property, as influential villagers have taken control.
During a recent visit to the village by the district collector, it was discovered that almost all Adivasi families in the area had their land unlawfully seized by influential individuals in the village, leading to a shocking revelation. In response, the collector suspended the local tehsildar (revenue officer) for negligence in carrying out official duties.
Collector Sandeep Kumar Makin visited the village of Govindpur in the Badoni tehsil. Within the village confines, a total of 105 Adivasi families have their residence. Upon engaging in conversations with these Adivasi families, the collector discerned a disconcerting reality - the overwhelming majority of the village's land is subject to the influence and control of affluent villagers.
The Adivasi families hold official land titles issued by the government, yet they find themselves devoid of possession and control over their designated lands. Instead, these lands are being cultivated by other individuals. Adding to their predicament, the Adivasis encounter obstacles in obtaining farmer credit cards from financial institutions, thereby hindering their access to crucial financial support. Additionally, the Adivasi community hasn't even availed benefits of the Prime Minister's Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.
During the thorough examination of the village, the collector came to know the poignant case of Maan Singh, an Adivasi who possesses a government-issued land title in the name of his grandfather, Jawahar. Despite this official documentation, Maan Singh has been denied access to his rightful land. Consequently, he finds himself unable to partake in any government schemes meant for the welfare of landholders.
When the collector inquired with the villagers whether information had been provided to the tehsildar regarding this issue, the Adivasis revealed that the tehsildar had never visited their village. In response to this situation, the collector suspended the Deputy Tehsildar Pooja Mavai of the Badoni area, citing negligence in her duties.
Speaking with The Mooknayak, Santosh Sahariya shared that his grandfather Chatar Sahariya received the government land title for cultivation and residence thirty years ago. Their parcel of land is situated next to plots officially registered under the names of different villagers. Consequently, right from the initiation, three individuals have asserted ownership of their land. Since the acquisition of the land title, Santosh Sahariya's family has been bereft of legitimate ownership. The control over their land has been wrested away by others, a situation persisting since the time of Santosh's grandfather.
The case of encroachment on Adivasi lands has brought to light the negligence of Tehsildar. The Collector stated that action will be taken against officers and employees who show negligence in their duties. As per his order, under the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services Conduct Rules 1965, Tehsildar Puja Mawai was suspended.
Following the Collector's directives, the Revenue Department team, including the Revenue Officer and Patwari, has initiated the demarcation of Adivasi lands. Soon, these lands will be rightfully restored to their original owners. The villagers express that such swift action has never been taken before. Officers have rarely visited the Adivasi settlements.
Meanwhile, during a conversation with The Mooknayak, Datia Additional District Magistrate Rupesh Upadhyay revealed that on January 9, the Collector visited the Badoni region. Several issues faced by the villagers came to light during the visit, including encroachment on Adivasi lands. Apart from this, the benefits of other government schemes were not reaching the villagers. In this matter, the Tehsildar of Badoni has been suspended.
Translated by Geetha Sunil Pillai