Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What is shamlat land?

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

What is shamlat land?

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning and features.

For Mains: Concerns over recent changes and ways to address them.

Context: Punjab state Cabinet recently approved an amendment to the Village Common Land (Regulation) Rules, 1964, allowing panchayats to sell shamlat land to industrial houses, entrepreneurs, businessmen, and companies for setting up micro, small and medium industrial units.

The underlying objective is to facilitate the “gram panchayats” to promote development of villages by unlocking the value of such land and transfer it for industrial projects to the Industry department and the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC).

What is shamlat land?

Three categories of common land in Punjab villages are:

  1. Shamlat’ land is owned by the village panchayat.
  2. ‘Jumla mushtraka malkan’ is land in a common pool made with villagers’ personal contributions, and is managed by the panchayat.
  3. ‘Gau charan’, too belongs to the panchayat, and is for cattle grazing.

Shamlat land is mainly used for cultivation, and is allotted for this through an open auction that is conducted by the Rural Development and Panchayat Department every year.

What’s the issue now?

Various organisations in Punjab have been protesting against this revised land policy relating to ‘shamlat’ land.

One-third of Punjab’s shamlat lands are reserved for Dalits. Around 25,000 to 26,000 families in the state, mostly Dalits, depend on this land for their livelihood.

The recent government move has sparked fears of unemployment.

Sources: Indian Express.