Growers demand digitisation of land record

Say current outdated system hinders access to bank credit

Our Correspondent August 10, 2021
Computerised Land Record Centre. PHOTO: FILE


The Sindh Abadgar Board, a farmers' lobbying group, has decried that inordinate delay in computerisation of the land record in Sindh is impeding farmers from obtaining bank credit for agriculture purposes. The board's office bearers, Mahmood Nawaz Shah, Dr Zulfiqar Yousfani, Syed Nadeem Shah, Dr Bashir Nizamani, Aslam Mari and others, who met on Monday, held the inefficiency of the Sindh board of revenue (BOR) responsible for the problem.

"Due to inefficiency in the Sindh Board of Revenue, the agriculture credit disbursement in Sindh is one of the lowest in Pakistan," the meeting observed. Although Sindh contributes 23 per cent in the country's agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the credit allocation for the province is only 16 per cent which too remained underutilised.

Whereas, in Punjab the credit disbursements have historically been even higher than the target fixed by the SBP. The board's farmers lamented that computerisation of the land record started 20 years ago in Sindh to bring efficiency and transparency but the work has not been completed yet.

Read More: Farmers switch to drip irrigation with solar power

"[The government claims] around 70 per cent of the record has been computerised but that record is not easily available to the stakeholders," Shah and other farmers maintained. "Even till today the growers have to run from pillar to post to obtain the computerised land record."

To crown it all, they lamented, computerised record in Sindh is still not considered a legal document because the Sindh government is yet to issue a notification in this regard. On the other hand, computerised record in Punjab is accepted as a legal document and is also easily available to stakeholders.

The board asked the BOR to complete the computerisation post-haste and requested the Sindh government to issue a notification to recognise it as a legal document besides making access to the record easier.

Water woes

The board also complained about the water shortage that is prevalent in many parts of Sindh even though low flood has been declared in the upper Sindh region. "Due to low rains, late arrival of water creating pent up demand and high temperatures, water requirement for the crops in the command areas of all the three barrages of Sindh is one of the highest seasonally," the board contended.

The farmers said the required quantity of water has arrived very late in the province, pointing out that while paddy harvesting has started in some areas of Punjab, Sindh is still sowing the same crop. "It needs to be understood that the sowing of paddy is already delayed and if water is not provided in deficient areas, paddy sowing will be severely affected," they said.

According to the board, Rohri and Nara canals are the backbone of the irrigation system and agriculture in Sindh, but till August 5 the water flow in those canals was around 13,000 cusecs, around 2,000 cusecs lower than the previous year in the same month.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2021.


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