Mismanagement of land records

Mismanagement in safeguarding land records has come to light in Barna area of Bhalwal village. Vital revenue record was found from Patwari’s house 6 years after his death. This can be termed a glaring instance of mismanagement in safeguarding the revenue records by the revenue department.

Patwari of Baran Halqa near Bhalwal in the outskirts of Jammu city namely Jagdish Singh died in the month of July 2010 and the vital records of huge chunk of land of village Kangrail was in his house. Surprisingly, a number of Patwaris were posted in this village since July 2010 when he died but none of them ever tried to prepare catalog which could have helped in detecting the misplacement of record and subsequent recovery from the house of deceased Patwari.

Relevant documents reached not because of any efforts by the field level official of the Revenue Department but due to common sense of the deceased Patwari’s wife who voluntarily submitted a bag full of documents to the office of Regional Director, Land Records and Surveys, Jammu. This shows how serious officials of the revenue department are in maintaining revenue records which remain in their custody. More pathetic is the attitude of the higher officials who often do not care about seeking details from the ground staff about the records in their custody.

It has been practice since ages that Patwaris keep vital documents of revenue department at their residence or places hired by them on rent either due to non availability of sufficient space at their office or due to other reasons, which should not be allowed. Moreover, opening of new administrative units has added to the woes of the people and failed to give relief in their routine work.

Most of offices of new administrative units are running in hired accommodation without any infrastructure and manpower. This is also giving excuse to revenue official to delay urgent work of the public and the people are suffering a lot. New administrative units were created by NC-Congress government without taking into consideration financial implications and that too hurriedly just to woo the votes in coming assembly election.

This is also another challenge for new government to make functional new administrative units. In addition, settlement of records is pending for a long time despite giving instructions by the last government to complete within time frame. Our revenue records need to be checked and maintained properly. The present era is an era of digitalization. It would be beneficial for both the government and the public if entire revenue record is digitalized to avoid tampering and encroachment.

Due to mismanagement of revenue record, several land scams are coming to light and even ordering of enquiry is serving no purpose to pinpoint responsibilities due to non availability of complete records.

Taking a lesson from such type of incidents, new government should take tough action against revenue official in deep slumber to complete settlement record and if possible digitalize whole revenue records of the state. This would also help to curb growing corruption in revenue department.


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