Soon, house owners in village settlements falling within the lal dora will get ownership rights and will be able to mortgage their properties to raise loans.Through the proposal, the SAD-BJP government is targeting the poor population which has no assets except a dwelling unit, which currently has no value and can’t be used to raise a loan.
There are apprehensions that the step may lead the owners of these dwelling units into a debt trap, but the government thinks the debt can also be used for positive purposes such as education and business activities.
The state government has passed an in-principle proposal to map the village settlements within the lal dora and issue numbers to all small and big properties for which the process of mapping will begin soon.
After mapping, all dwelling units will get an asset value and will be acceptable as mortgage by banks and financial institutions.
Punjab is the second state after Andhra Pradesh that would start a pilot project in five villages each in Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar districts.
Financial commissioner revenue Navreet Singh Kang told HT that mapping would give value to these properties, which till now were just dwelling units, and people’s assets were state’s assets.
According to agriculture minister Tota Singh, there is a large population living in these village settlements and they have no other assets, and by giving numbers to these properties in the revenue records would add a productive value to these residential houses. “As house owners in urban areas use their properties for raising loans for education and commercial activities, the rural properties could be used in a similar manner,” said Tota Singh.
The mapping of the properties in 13,000-plus villages in the state will cost Rs 130 crore. “We are yet to make arrangements of funds to map all village settlements,” said Kang.
The agriculture minister has suggested a nominal fee from the owners of the dwelling units, and the work could be allotted to a private company. The issue is expected to come up in the forthcoming cabinet meeting.
“It will be a tough task as it would lead to litigations because to map these properties an owner has to be identified and his details recorded in revenue books. And there may be more than one claimant to a property,” Kang said.