Farmers in Maharashtra Caught Between Revenue and Forest Department

Community Correspondent Vinod Wankhede reports from Maharashtra on a land dispute that has left 25 agricultural families in distress. Caught in the midst of a tussle between the Revenue Department and Forest Department the farmers have been trying to get access to proper land rights for 2 decades. In the absence of these, they are unable to get subsidies on seeds or proper facilities to carry out their work. The land in question is one of many erstwhile 'grazing areas' that were taken over by lower caste and Dalit farmers soon after independence. It was a part of a 'Forcible cultivation' movement of the 1960s in which previously landless groups took over land as buying it was beyond their means. By the 1990s, the movement had gained momentum and many of dalit 'encroachers' were given proper land rights. In Jamod Shivara, the dispute continues and now multiple parties have entered the picture. "We have a court order in our favour saying land belongs to us, the farmers and that the Forest Department cannot file a suit against us", says Shabbir Shekh, one of the affected farmers. The plight of the farmers in Maharashtra has often been reported. This time, you can do something to change the situation. Call to Action: Please call Mr GB Apale, the Sub-Divisional Officer of Jalgaon on 07266221429 and ask him to ensure that the farmers get their due tenancy rights.

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