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Consolidation Scheme In Uttar Pradesh: Overview

Consolidation is the process of converting many small and fragmented holdings into one big farm.
It is the process by which farmers are convinced to get, one or two compact farms in place of their fragmented farms.
Also, in this process farmers' fragmented land holdings are pooled and then re-allotted them in a way that each gets a single farm of having same total size and fertility like his previous fragmented landholdings.

1750s: Denmark was the first country to start land consolidation.

Consolidation Scheme: Conditions

A Consolidation Scheme shall fulfil the following conditions, namely:
  • Scheme secures the rights and liabilities of a tenure-holder, as recorded in the annual register prepared under Section 10, are, subject to the deductions, if any, made on account of contributions to public purposes under this Act, secured in the lands allotted to him.
  • Subject to deductions, the valuation of plots allotted to a tenure-holder shall be equal to the valuation of plots originally held by him.

Note: Provided that, except with the permission of the Director of Consolidation, the area of the holding or holdings allotted to a tenure-holder shall not differ from the area of his original holding or holdings by more than twenty five per cent of the latter.

Compensation:
To the tenure-holder:
  • For trees, wells, and other improvements, originally held by him and allotted to another tenure-holder, and
  • For land contributed by him for public purposes.
  • To the Gaon Sabha, or any other local authority, as the case may be, for development, if any, effected by it in or over land belonging to it and allotted to a tenure-holder.
    • The principles laid down in the Statement of Principles (Sec-8A) are followed.
    • A Consolidation Scheme before it is made final under Section 23, shall be provisionally drawn up in accordance with the provisions of Section 19-A.

Provisional Consolidation Scheme By The Assistant Consolidation Officer (Sec-19)

The Assistant Consolidation Officer will prepare provisional Consolidation Scheme for the unit in the prescribed form after consultation with the Consolidation Committee.
He is lawfully empowered to allot to a tenure-holder, after determining its valuation:
  1. Any land belonging to the State Government, or
  2. Any land vested in the Gaon Sabha, or
  3. Any other local authority, as a result of notification issued under Section 117 or 117-A of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950.
But where any such land is used for a public purpose, It shall be allotted only after the Assistant Consolidation Officer has declared in writing.

Publication And Objections (Sec-20)

The Assistant Consolidation Officer Upon the preparation of the provisional Consolidation Scheme, shall send, or cause to be sent notices containing relevant extracts to the tenure-holders concerned and persons interested, therefrom. After that it shall be published in the unit.

Filing objections
Subject to the provisions contained in Section 11-A:
  • Any person to whom notice has been sent under sub-section 20(1) and
  • Any other person affected by the provisional Consolidation Scheme,

Disputing the propriety or correctness of the entries in the provisional Consolidation Scheme, or in the extracts furnished may file objection.
ALSO
Any person
  • Affected, or
  • Having any interest or right, in addition to the right of public highway, in or over any public land, or
  • Having other interest or right which is substantially prejudiced by the declaration made under sub-section (2) of Section 19-A
May within fifteen days after the publication of the provisional Consolidation Scheme, file an objection before the Assistant Consolidation Officer or the Consolidation Officer stating the nature of such interest or right.

Before Whom?
Objection May Be Filed Before Assistant Consolidation Officer or the Consolidation Officer.

Time Limit for Raising Objection
Objection may be filed within fifteen days of the:
  • receipt of the notice
  • date of the publication of the provisional Consolidation Scheme, as the case may be,
     

Disposal Of Objection On The Statement(Sec-21)

All objections received by the Assistant Consolidation Officer shall, as soon as may be, after the expiry of the period of limitation prescribed therefore, be submitted by him to the Consolidation Officer, who shall dispose of the same, as also the objections received by him, in the manner hereinafter provided after notice to the parties concerned and the Consolidation Committee.

Any person aggrieved by the order of the Consolidation Officer under sub-section (1) may within [15] days of the date of the order, file an appeal before the Settlement Officer, Consolidation whose decision shall, except as otherwise provided by or under this Act be final.

Local inspection before Disposal of objections to the provisional Consolidation Scheme:
After notice to the parties concerned and the Consolidation Committee, local inspection of the plots in dispute is made by:
  • The Consolidation Officer before deciding the objections, and
  • The Settlement Officer, Consolidation, before deciding an appeal.
If, during the course of the disposal of an objection or the hearing of an appeal, the Consolidation Officer or the Settlement Officer, Consolidation:
  • Believes material injustice is likely to be caused.
  • To several tenure-holders in giving effect to the provisional Consolidation Scheme
    and that a fair and proper allotment of land to the tenure-holders of the units is not possible without revising the provisional Consolidation Scheme, or getting a fresh one prepared, it shall be lawful, for reasons to be recorded in writing, for:
    • The Consolidation Officer to revise the provisional Consolidation Scheme, after giving opportunity of being heard to the tenure- holders concerned, or to remand the same to the Assistant Consolidation Officer, with such directions as the Consolidation Officer may consider necessary; and
    • The Settlement Officer, Consolidation, to revise the provisional Consolidation Scheme, after giving opportunity of being heard to the tenure-holders concerned or to remand the same to the Assistant Consolidation Officer, or the Consolidation Officer, as the Settlement Officer, Consolidation, may think fit, with such directions as he may. consider necessary.

Confirmation Of The Provisional Consolidation Scheme And The Issue Of Allotment Orders (Sec 23)

The provisional Consolidation Scheme so confirmed shall be published in the unit and, except as otherwise provided by or under this Act, shall be final.

Where the allotments made under Section 19-A are not modified under Section 21 and are confirmed under sub-section (1), the extracts contained in the notice issued under Section 20, shall [, except as provided by or under the Act] be treated as final allotment orders for the tenure-holders concerned.

Conclusion & Opinion
Farms in India are not only small in size but also lie scattered. Scattered farms means lot of time, energy and money wasted in moving men and material from one farm to another resulting in sub-optimal use of resources.

Hence land consolidation = essential for progressive farming/ capitalist methods / mechanization of agriculture.

Land Consolidation: Benefits & Advantages

  • Scientific methods of cultivation, better irrigation, mechanization which is possible on consolidated holdings, and they result in low cost of production + increases income
  • Saves farmer's time, energy, and money in moving from one farm to the other.
  • Farmer feels encouraged to spend money on the improvement of his land.
  • No land is wasted in making boundaries between tiny farms.
  • Surplus land after consolidation can be used for construction of gardens, school, Panchayat Ghar, roads, playgrounds etc for the benefit of entire village.

Land Consolidation: Difficulties & Obstacles

  • Indian farmer has orthodox mindset. He does not want to part with the land of his ancestors, even if it the principles of modern agriscience/business management advocate land consolidation.
  • Rich farmers own large tracts of fertile land. They oppose consolidation fearing some other farmer will get part of their fertilize land.
  • In many areas, farming done on oral agreements, there are no paper records.
  • Land quality/Price within tehsil will vary depending on irrigation and fertility. So, one farmer will have to pay money (or receive money) depending on land quality, while they exchange their land with each other.
  • But this price determination is difficult because of lack of land surveys, agri.surveys and inefficient/corrupt revenue officials.
  • Revenue official at village / Tehsil level are inefficient and not trained in this type of technical work.

Ashok Khemka (the IAS officer who exposed Raabert Vadra/DLF scam.) Earlier, Ashok Khemka was Director General Consolidation of Land holdings in Haryana. He exposed how land consolidation related provision were misused in Faridabad district of Haryana. modus operandi was following:
the real estate mafias/dalal type elements would first buy small patches of unfertile land scattered in Aravalli hills (using xyz farmers under benami transection.)

Then they would bribe local tehsildar, patwari to get fragment farms exchanged for consolidated big farms near the foothills where national/state highways are to be constructed in future can be sold at extremely high prices after 5-10-15 years truckload of profit with minimum effort. Thus, original purpose of land consolidation i.e., to increase agricultural productivity is defeated.
Written By: Shashank Harshit Singh

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