Report by Dr Ali AKbar Dhakan, Karachi, Sind
Thirteeth April 2009, A seminar on the above subject was held by the Participartory Development initiatives (PDI) at Mariot Hotel Karachi.The Seminar was to be started exact at 9:30 a.m but the participants could not reach in time beacause of disturbances in the city and the seminar started at 11 a.m just after taking refreshment.The number of participants rose to about 100 and the hall was fully packed .Most of the participants belonged to rural Sindh serving in Karachi, Hyderabad and Islamabad.The Sindh Revenue Minister Mr Darejo chaired the seminar .The other Ministers was Mr Shajrah .Among the gentry Of participants, was Mr Nisar Ali Afandi, Nazeer Memon, Mrs Sadiqa , Mr Muhammad Umer memon and others including me sitting on the front seats.At the stage two Ministers, Mr Subhan Memon Sindh Revenue member, participatory organization officers including the Director Mr Sikander Brohi took their seats.The following details of the seminar were read out and explained by Mr Skander Brohi:
1.Study on Sindh Governments land distribution program.
2.Study Objectives a.Examine the gaps in land distribution program of Sindh Government. b.Identify gaps and issues in land distribution process and procedures. c.Study post land distribution sustainability issues.d.Prepare key recommendations/suggestion for the government and civil society.
3.Districts Covered in the Study.a.Thatta.b.Badin.c.Nawabshah.d.Dadu.e.Qamabar/ Shahdadkot.
4.Methodology . a.Secondary Data Review .b.Focused Group Discussion-FGD.c.District level Consultative workshops.d.Informant Interviews.e.Field Observations.
5.Key Findings .a.Issues in availability land indentification.b.Complete Reliance on Revenue Dpartment.c.No counter validation.d.No verification/ validation from RDPs at district level.e.Less land shown available then the factual available land.
6.Issues in Available Land identification.a.Revenue Department has provided details 212,864 acres of land in different districts and of this 136,784 acres is barrage land.The budget speech of Sindh Chief Minister Sayed Qaim Ali Shah.b.Land availability in 17 districts is only 84, 657 acres.Land utilization Department figures.c.revenue officials did not mention thousands of acres of available land civil society and community claims.
7.Issues In beneficiary Identification.a.No civil society involvement in the process.b.No validation. veification from RSPs at distrrict level as per policy framework and steering Commitee Decisions.
8.a.No proper information to the local communities or many palces.b.Katcharies in the areas of influential political leaders.c.Katcharies in some district during the rainy days .d.No separate katcharies for women and domination of men in the katcharies to distribute land preferably among women
e.No women official to deal with the woman grantees.
9.Unequal Distribution/Improper land.a.Some recieved four acres and other 16 to 20 acres.b.Majority of land granted in Thatta and Badin is waterlogged and slaine.c.Some land distributed is even under seawater intrusion/ erosion .d.many recieved unleaseed land with ditches and ponds.
Conclusion.a.Positive steps but needs strong pro people procedural framework, monitoring and follow.b.land distribution without support package is bound to fail like the precvios land reforms and distributions.
1.Provincial Government should provide immediate support package to the poor land grantees to endure the sustainbility for the benefits of the program for the poor.
2.Equal portion of the land should be granted to all the grantees in place of providing more or less in different areas and districts.
3.A quota for disable haris especially women should also be fixed at district level.
4.Local level Civil societies should play their facilitative role for poor communities in informing them about open kacharies, applications submission procedures,a nd documents recieving procedures.
After detail discussion, the floor was opened for questions.I suggested that such studies may be conduted in ither districts in Sindh (2)Lands in forest , kacha and Thar areas may also be distributed accordingly (3)Water is the main input for the cultivation of crops which may be made available easily and adequately to the land grantees other wise the scheme will not be successful.In the end the revenue Minister Mr. Dharejo dwelt in detail the problems of farmers of Sindh and essued that every step will taken to solveall the problems according to law and rules.The lunch was served and every participants with volume of information and knowledge about land in SIndh took there way homes.May God bless our Sindh and poor people of Sindh to make the country Pakistan Prosperous and Peaceful.