Now land to come with better housing for poor families in West Bengal

Widows and elderly women will benefit from the newly allotted land and will not have to wait to receive the security that it provides.

AUGUST 8, 2012 — Landless families living in poverty in rural West Bengal, India who are set to receive land titles will now also be listed as a priority for getting financial support to build homes on their microplots, thanks to a new state-level policy. 

Before this new policy, families would receive land, but this did not help the poorest of the poor who had no means to build a home on their new land.

“It can get frustrating for a landless family to finally see their dream come true with getting a secure land title yet not be able to enjoy the first of it to climb out of poverty,” says Pinaki Halder, Landesa’s West Bengal state director.

Now they will have priority to receive financing to construct homes as soon as they receive land titles.

Landesa has been working in the eastern state since 2007 to help implement a program that makes available microplots–or pieces of land about the size of a tennis court–on which families can build homes and kitchen gardens.

The land is made available for distribution by the state government–with active technical support and advocacy by Landesa India–by purchasing land for redistribution or earmarking government owned land.

The program has benefited 25,000 families in the state who now have a foundation to overcome chronic poverty through land and related productive assets.