Kannur: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Friday declared Kannur as the first zero landless district in the country and said that "political will" was required to implement such a programme on an all- India basis.
"Every family of landless poor in the district is going to get three cents of land for building a house. It is an historic step," the Minister said while declaring Kannur as India's first landless-free district.
It requires "hard political decisions" to distribute land to roughly 15 to 17 million families who are still landless in the country, Ramesh said.
"It is doable. It requires political will and it requires taking some hard political decisions on excess land (owned by private individuals) and wasteland," Ramesh said as he urged all states to follow the example set by Kerala.
Though the national land reform policy says every landless person should get 10 cents of land for building a house, that allocation was not quite possible in Kerala due to a shortage of land, Ramesh said, adding that land was expensive in the state.
"While 10 cents is a desirable objective, one should also be a little realistic as to how much (land) is available," Ramesh said while hailing the UDF government's decision in the state to implement the programme despite constraints.
Later, talking to PTI, the Minister said, "Kerala is a place where land is in short supply and very expensive. So, how they are going to find land for the two lakh families is going to be quite a challenge.
"They will have to identify wasteland. They will have to identify some excess land which is available with private land owners or with local bodies. They will have to identify old 'bhoodan' land," he said.