Govt backtracks on amending land reforms law



Shimla: Himachal Pradesh assembly today decided to refer the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill 2010 to a select committee. The Bill was intended to bring amendments in sections (2), (30) and (118) the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act 1972.

Despite opposition’s absence from the House, revenue minister Gulab Singh Thakur presented the Bill for discussion and approval after the Question Hour. Citing the objects and reasons for bringing these amendments, the minister said that term ‘village artisan’ has found mention in clause (c) of Section 118 of this Bill but the same has not been defined in the said Act. He said that this bill is proposed to define the expression ‘Village artisan’. He further stated that agriculture area is being reduced because of land-owners who are not in a position to cultivate land personally and are not leasing it out for cultivation due to threat of creation of tenancy over their land, and the Bill proposes to make a suitable provision to this effect so that land owners could lease out their land for short terms.

The existing provision of sub-Section (2) of Sec. 118 of the Act restricts utilization of land within a period of maximum of three years and also restrict diversion of land, transferred after obtaining permission under Sec. 118 to any other purpose of violation of such restrictions entails vestment of land in the government free from the encumbrances.

Speaking on the issue, Suresh Bhardwaj of BJP (Shimla) said that the Bill was very important and before assembly discusses the issue, it should be forward for the approval of a select committee. Accepting the demand, the minister said that even opposition members were seeking similar demands, after which the House unanimously decided to hand it over it the the select committee.

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