By Tenzin Dharpo
The signing of the agreement of land lease between S S Nukul, DC of Karwar, and Karma Gelek, Tibetan settlement officer of Mundgod on Dec.21, 2016. Photo- Tibet.net
DHARAMSHALA, DEC. 23: The Tibetan refugee settlement of Mundgod has become the first settlement to be handed over the land lease agreement by the Karnataka State. The move officiated in a signing ceremony on Dec. 21 in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama took place on the sidelines of 600th founding anniversary of Drepung monastery in South India.
A lease agreement was signed between the government of India represented by S S Nukul, District Commissioner of Karwar, and Karma Gelek, settlement officer of Doeguling Tibetan settlement, Mundgod, representing the Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC). The document signed and in effect is the first legal document that is leased to Tibetans represented by the CTRC in over 50 years of Tibetan exile-hood in India.
Tibetan PM Lobsang Sangay said that the historic development is the result of successive Kashags who have worked towards a definite policy from the Indian government which finally came in 2014 with the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy Act. PM Sangay also indicated that other Tibetan settlements in India will also follow suit in time. “We are in the process now of urging the relevant states where Tibetan settlements are based to adopt this policy and set it into implementation.
"Now this agreement will ensure the sustenance of the Tibetan settlement and the Tibetan people will be eligible to avail the various schemes and projects offered by the state and central government,” the Sikyong said.
The land however, will not directly be leased to individual Tibetans but to Central Tibetan Relief Committee which will allocate the records to individual Tibetans accordingly. The Karnataka Secretary of the Revenue Department earlier in Nov. 2015 told reporters, “Neither the CTRC (Central Tibetan Relief Committee) nor any of the individual Tibetans would be eligible to transfer the lease or mortgage or pledge the leased lands to any institution or individual, which will attract termination of the lease. With RTCs in their name, they can avail crop loans, incentives on agriculture equipment, farm loans, etc. We have already directed deputy commissioners of three districts through the regional commissioners to implement the order. ”
The Karnataka state government said last year that all the District Commissioners of the three districts – Mysuru (Bylakuppe and Hunsur), Uttara Kannada (Mundgod) and Chamarajanagar (Kollegal) have been issued directives to implement the order and issue the Tibetans in those settlements the RTC (Rights, Tenency and Crops) record.
Under the new order, Tibetan refugees across Mundgod, Bylakuppe, Hunsur and Kollegal will not only have the land records under their name but are also eligible for loans, subsidies and other amenities previously availed only to Indian citizens.