Shimla, August 1

Non-agriculturist United Forum seeks a suitable amendment in section 118 of the H.P. Land Reform and Tenancy Act to facilitate them buying land in the State. Delegation of Gair Krishak Ekta Manch met Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur under the chairmanship of Girish Sahni and submitted a memorandum demanding to amend the section so they could start agricultural, Commercial and Industrial ventures to earn their livelihood in the State.

They informed the CM that after implementing the H.P. Tenancy and Land Reforms Act in 1975, the population in the State was divided into two groups. That is, Agriculturist Himachalis and Non-agriculturists Himachali citizens. Here, notably, the said Act provides extraordinary relief to a few categories out of the Non -agriculturist Himachalis under subsection 118(2) of the H.P. Tenancy and Land Reforms Act 1972. These citizens are (a) landless labourers, (b) landless scheduled castes or tribes, (c) rural artisans (d) Landless who do allied work.

Alongwith with them, while implementation of Section-118 of the H.P. Tenancy and Land Reforms Act 1972, there were two other categories of Non-agriculturist citizens in the state also. These were (1) shopkeepers or businessmen and (2) people working in government and non-government sectors. Whereby these two category of citizens were also to be included in the sub section 118(2) of the act. “However, the act was implemented due to which these two category of citizens also got affected,” they stated in the letter to CM. And as of date the Act also, applies to those living in the State before its implementation (1975) and these are citizens serving the State from generation to generation, they added. Also read:

Therefore, relief should be provided to them in the same way as in section 118 (2) of the said Act, applicable to many other classes, they demanded.

Currently, the employees and people in business who are domicile of State but non Agriculturist couldn’t buy lands without exemption from the state council of ministers, they added. Suppose the State would include them in the above categories already included in section 118(2) then, they could also buy lands and build houses without wrangling in the bureaucratic trap of seeking permission under section 118.

The forum is not against Section-118 of the above Act, but Section-118 of the Tenancy Act should be applied only to those who have come to the State after the implementation of the Tenancy Act in the State, appraised the forum to The Chief Minister.

The delegation also informed representatives of the Opposition party conveying their demand. The opposition too accepted the demand, wherein an MLA has written a letter to the Chief Minister favouring the move.

Non-Agriculturist residing in the State for many decades, have sought to bring an amendment to the section 118(2) during the upcoming monsoon session of the state Legislative Assembly. Though the Chief Minister has given a patient hearing, but so far government attention on the issue has not been noted.

It is worthwhile to mention that the State government has decided to amend a proviso in this section during the upcoming Assembly monsoon season. In the proposed amendment, they intend to allow or permit relaxation given to real-estate and commercial entities to complete the project in five years instead of three years. Currently, this is a stringent provision of this Act, wherein government can vest such project land to the State if if the same is not completed within three years.


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