Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings: The study of the size of agricultural holdings is very important in the context of productivity of agriculture and well-being of the agricultural population. Sholapur district is not an exception to the general experience as to the low productivity of agriculture due to the scattered fragments of land. With the increase in population over the past few decades the pressure of population on available land has also increased. Consequently the size of holdings is getting smaller and smaller due to the sub-division and fragmentation of the existing holdings. The customary laws of inheritance and succession are also partly responsible for the small size of holdings. Moreover it obstructs and makes it difficult for the farmer to carry on the work of large improvements on land.

The agricultural holdings in the district are divided into three Classes A, B and C. Class A comprises persons who cultivate land by themselves with or without the aid of hired labour; Class B consists of those who do not cultivate land by themselves but supervise and direct cultivation by farm servants; while Class C comprises persons who receive rent from the land but do not participate directly or indirectly in cultivation. Broadly speaking, persons in the first two classes can be styled cultivators, while those in the last class can be described non-cultivating owners. The quinquennial statement (table No. 4) of holdings in Sholapur district in 1970 gives an idea of the distribution of Khalsa lands amongst the holders in relation to various magnitude groups.

Sub-division and fragmentation of holdings constitute one of the principal reasons for uneconomic and less productive agriculture. It was, therefore, deemed necessary to prevent sub-division of holdings and consolidate the fragmented plots of land for making them into profitable and economic units of cultivation. The Government of Bombay, therefore, passed an enactment entitled " Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1947". Part 1 of the Act specially deals with the prevention of further fragmentation of land. The Act provides for determination of local standard areas and treatment of fragments, procedure for consolidation and actual consolidation. The " standard areas" vary according to the differences in quality of soil, climate, cost of cultivation, etc. Under section 5(1) of the Act, standard area has been determined for each class of land in Sholapur district which is shown below:-




(1) Dry crop



(2) Bagayat



On the basis of standard areas, all the fragments have been entered in the Records of Rights of all the villages in four talukas and the notices have been issued to the fragment-holders by the revenue authorities. After the issue of such notices, the transfer of fragments is prohibited unless the transfer proposes to merge such a fragment in a contiguous survey number or in a recognised sub-division thereof. The holder of fragment or his heirs can enjoy all the rights of cultivating the fragment, but in case of sale or lease, it can be sold or leased to contiguous holder only. No plot of land can be transferred or partitioned so as to create a fragment. Such transfer or partition contrary to the provisions of the Act is deemed void and owner of such a land is liable to pay the prescribed fine. If the contiguous holder is unwilling to purchase the fragment or purposely makes a low bid, the Government can purchase it after giving compensation payable under the provision of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and may lease it out to the adjacent cultivator or can allow the tenant, if any, to continue the cultivating possession of the same.

The Act also provides for the consolidation of holdings into compact blocks. The process, however, involves some problems such as field inspection, valuation of all scattered holdings and their redistribution in such a manner as to accord a fair deal to the parties concerned. Re-distribution of land is done within the existing proprietary rights. It is also implied that everybody should get land of the same value and equal productivity in the process of exchange. For this purpose, lands of equal fertility and out-turn are chosen for an exchange. There is a provision for payment of compensation by Government as per the Land Acquisition Act and the existing market value of land is the basis of exchange. While carrying out the transactions of consolidation of small holdings, with the transfer of tenure of holdings, other things such as debts, encumbrances, etc., are also transferred.

Table No. 4 reveals that the largest number of land-holders, i.e., 75,494, possess less than fifteen acres of land; whereas the highest acreage of land, i.e., 9,69,442.23 acres, is possessed by the persons holding between 25 to 100 acres of land.

The old Gazetteer of Sholapur District has given the following description about holdings as they existed in 1882-83:-

"In 1882-83, including alienated lands, the total number of holdings was 49,656 with an average area of about forty-eight acres. Of the whole number, 2,837 were holdings of not more than five acres, 3,270 were of six to ten acres, 9,479 of eleven to twenty acres, 22,104 of twenty-one to fifty acres, 8,190 of fifty-one to 100 acres, 2,622 of 101 to 200 acres, 505 of 201 to 300 acres, 149 of 301 to 400 acres, and 97 of above 400 acres. The occupants who have holdings of over 100 acres are Brahmans, local Vanis, Gujars, Marathas and Dhangars. As a rule the Brahmans, local Vanis and Gujars sub-let their holdings."

Achievements : After the enactment of Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1947, the scheme of consolidation was started in Sholapur district. The district was divided into two sub-divisions, viz., Sholapur and Pandharpur, for the work of consolidation. The year of the consolidation work started in the Sholapur division in each taluka is Karmala (1948), Madha (1954), Barshi (1960), Mohol (1954) and North Sholapur and South Sholapur (1961).

The work of Karmala and Madha talukas has been completed. At present five Assistant Consolidation Officers with their subordinate executive staff are working in Barshi, Mohol and South and North Sholapur talukas in this division.

The over-all picture of the work done under the scheme in Sholapur division is given in Table No. 5.

Pandharpur division comprises four talukas, viz.. Pandharpur, Mangalwedha, Sangola and Malshiras. This division came into existence during the year 1967 with Consolidation Officer and Assistant Consolidation Officers with their ancillary staff. The details of the villages notified under section 15 of the Act declaring Government's intention to implement the scheme of consolidation of holdings in the respective talukas of this division are as given below:-


Total number of villages

Number of villages notified
















As regards the remaining villages, proposals have been already submitted to the Government for moving the Government to notify the said villages under section 15 of the Act on 29th April 1970. From 1962 to 1970, the consolidation schemes of 130 villages have been executed covering an area of 4,84,742 acres with 1,00,562 holdings in this division. The details of the work done in each taluka in the Sholapur Division is as shown below:-

Name of taluka

Number of villages covered

Area in acres