Hyderabad, November 11, 2022: In a historic development, the CEM has transferred Land Ownership rights to Tribal Households of Reserve Gittim village in West Garo Hills. In a ‘Thanksgiving’ Ceremony organized by the villagers, Chief Minister, Shri Conrad K Sangma, awarded ‘Land Patta’ to 100 tribal households in the presence of Shri Swapnil Tembe, DC, West Garo Hills & Smt Rikse R Marak, CEO, Tura Development Board and other dignitaries.
Unlike other parts of India, Meghalaya did not have clear land titles. This was due to unique agrarian systems (Shifting Jhum Agriculture) and distinctive social structure. After the reorganization of States and award of Statehood to Meghalaya in 1972, tribals of various parts of Meghalaya have been requesting for recognition of their rights over the land. This was considering the rise of modern agriculture, which demanded clear demarcation of land and its ownership. The absence of Land Records and formal documentation further posed a challenge in identifying the rightful owners.
On 19th August 2018, the memorandum was presented to Chief Minister Shri Conrad Sangma requesting him to take resolve the challenge faced by people. The task was immediately actioned and all legal hurdles despite the Covid 19 Pandemic were overcome, achieving the much-needed demarcation. The CEM is all set to award more than 100 land Pattas to tribal beneficiaries who are the rightful owners in recognition of their long-standing demand for rights over the land.
Chief Minister Shri Conrad Sangma said, “Right over land is key to the tribal identity of our people. Hence the transfer of Land Rights to the rightful owners is one of our topmost agendas. In the past four and a half years of our tenure, we have done everything to help the people of Reserve Gittim, we have made legal provisions to award legal right over land to the tribal people of Meghalaya. Going ahead we plan to help tribal people across the state who are facing similar challenges.”
Shri Swapnil Tembe, DC, WGH further added, “Settlement process is very important. For every application, bank application, loan application, certificate application land document is important, so land settlement process is important. There are other areas as such in Tura and District administration revenue branch is surveying about the problems, enforcement staff, DC revenue staff have been instructed to survey and he thank the CM for all these.”
To resolve many problems being faced by the residents of the area different departments such as water, electricity will coordinate with each other.
The beneficiaries couldn’t have been happier: when asked to comment on the development, one of the beneficiaries, Sharon D Sangma said, “In 2018 the CEM started investigation into the matter since they came across many problems because people did not have land pattas, they could not connect pipelines, electricity and could not apply for Caste certificates. We are grateful that CEM, CM supported and helped us acquire these land pattas. I would like to thank our Chief Minister for recognizing our genuine aspiration and giving us legal rights over our land, something that we thought wouldn’t have been possible in our lifetime.”
Another beneficiary Remsoni Ch Marak added, “When we went to offices for loans, we were asked if we have pattas and when we could not provide one, we were told we could not apply for big loans. Now that we have got the pattas we are grateful to everyone.”