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Haryana extends land leases of ‘migrant’ Sikh farmers

September 12, 2013 | By

Chandigarh/ Haryana (September 12, 2013): According to certain media reports the Haryana government on Wednesday (September 11, 2013) announced extension of lease of agricultural land to about 3500 Sikh ‘migrant’ families, allotted to them in 1953, in a bid to win the confidence of Sikh community in the state.

After the partition in 1947, landless migrant people from erstwhile Karnal district — which was later bifurcated into Kaithal and Kurukshetra districts after creation of Haryana state out of Punjab in 1966 — were allotted uncultivable land for a period of 20 years under East Punjab Utilization of Lands Act, 1949 and Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1953.

It was then decided to rehabilitate these landless persons, who had migrated from Pakistan and settled in Karnal, Kaithal and Kurukeshtra districts after partition. Allotted in 1953 by then chief minister of joint Punjab, Partap Singh Kairon, lease of these lands expired in 1973 and the families had been struggling to get ownership rights of their land.

It is notable that the Sikhs had to abandon their ancestral houses and agricultural lands in 1947 partition, as those lands and houses fell in Pakistan. In India these Sikhs were treated as ‘refugees’ or ‘migrants’.

According to the state government decision, lease of lands of migrant Sikh families has now been extended for a further period of 99 years. Making the announcement, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the government will also urge Gujarat government to follow suit and rehabilitate Sikh farmers of Kutch region, who were facing eviction.

With a view to rehabilitate landless original allottees or their legal heirs, who remained in possession of the land up to September 24, 1986, the Haryana assembly on Wednesday passed a bill to make needed provisions in the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961.

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