Mahadalits to get money for homestead land in Bihar

December 31st, 2009 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Dec 31 (IANS) Poorest of the poor Mahadalit families in Bihar will be given Rs.20,000 to purchase homestead land under a housing scheme, official sources said Thursday.
“All Mahadalit families in the state will be provided money to purchase three decimals of homestead land on mutual consent,” sources in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s office here said.

The decision to give Rs.20,000 to all Mahadalit families was approved by the state cabinet also, officials told IANS.

For generations, the Mahadalits, who are the poorest of the Dalit sub-castes, have been dreaming of owning homes.

Thousands of poor, landless and homeless Dalits in Bihar see the government’s decision as the beginning of a new life for them.

Nearly a month ago, the Bihar government had announced that over two lakh Mahadalit families in Bihar would be provided with homestead land and that the state government would also help in constructing their dwellings.

Earlier it was decided that the government would purchase land for Mahadalits. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar directed sub-divisional officers (SDOs) to identify government land that could be distributed among 2.16 lakh Mahadalit families in accordance with the Bihar Privileged Persons Homestead Tenancy Act (BPPHT).

But later it was decided that they would be provided with money to purchase a plot of homestead land.

A government commission set up two years ago for the welfare of certain Dalit groups, which are socially and educationally more backward than others, painted a bleak picture of their lives in its first interim report submitted a few months ago.

Dalits constitute nearly 15 percent of Bihar’s 83 million people. The commission identified 18 of the 22 Dalit sub-castes, including Musahar, Bhuiyan, Dom and Nat, as the most backward. They constitute 31 percent of the Dalit population in the state.

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