KARACHI – To further indicate its intent on empowering the farming community, the PPP-led Sindh government on Tuesday gave a policy guideline for the allotment of 0.1 million acres of state land to landless farmers in the next fiscal year. This scheme to distribute state land free of cost, among other uplift projects, is being seen as the ruling party’s deliberate attempt to enlarge its vote bank through presenting an election-oriented budget. A high-level meeting, chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, provided the policy to allot at least 25 acres to each farmer, especially to women farmers, in the next financial year. Revenue Department officials told the meeting that at present there were 53,208 acres available in “katcha” areas and 6,500 acres in “pacca” areas.As per the official data, the government has so far distributed 56,187 acres of land to 6,100 landless farmers. “Most of these allottees are facing litigation in Thatta and other districts of the province. Even, in some districts the agricultural land allotted could not be utilised due to the lack of irrigation water,” sources said. Contending that his government was representing all sections of society and striving to resolve the problems of labourers, peasants, students, the chief minister, while issuing the policy guideline, stressed that the process of land distribution should be carried out transparently, for which a proper publicity campaign be arranged after the submission of verified figures by deputy commissioners. It is still unclear whether Qaim’s instructions are carried out. He said that previously, every farmer was granted 16 acres of land, but the government was now going to grant 25-acre to each landless farmer, keeping in view the present conditions.The chief minister said the programme of distribution of land among landless farmers was an important one that aimed at helping the farming community to eke out living for their families, besides enhancing food production for the betterment of the national economy. Qaim further said that under the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari, assistance to the tune of Rs50,000, in the shape of agriculture inputs, such as seeds, fertiliser and water, had been provided to the allottees for a piece of 4-acre land.The chief minister stressed upon the deputy commissioners to pay full attention towards this prestigious task and also ensure implementation of the previously distributed land. He directed the Board of Revenue to furnish details of available state land in pacca and katcha areas together with any forestland. He said that committees already formed at the district level would be made active and functional, while all the deputy commissioners should conduct surveys to verify and confirm the vacant and available land figures in their respective districts.He also ordered the Irrigation Department to ensure water supply to the districts wherein farmers were given free land. The meeting was attended by CM’s Advisor, Sajid Bambhan, BOR senior member Shahzore Shamoon, consultant Nazar Muhamad Laghari and coordinator Faisal Uqaili.