Strange, but true - civic officials have never bothered to scrutinise land records pertaining to five villages that were transferred from UT administration’s jurisdiction to that of the municipal corporation way back in 2006.
The records were stashed away in cupboards that have not been opened during the past eight years. As a result, officials are not aware of landed properties worth Rs 100 crore and above in these villages - Hallomajra, Maloya, Dadumajra, Paslora and Kejheri.
It is now learnt most of the vacant land as well as shops in these villages have been illegally occupied after the panchayats passed back dated resolutions on the properties’ ownership. Also, the civic body does not have any information about schools, ‘janj ghars’ and ‘dharamshalas’ (inns) and ‘anganwaris’ (community centres) in the five villages.
Moreover, in the absence of any land records, civic officials have been issuing ‘no objection certificates’ (NOCs) to the villagers on the basis of personal records, which are in the possession of the retired ‘patwaris’ (village accountants).
MC subdivisional engineer (buildings) Sunil Dutt said he had joined office only 10 days ago but admitted he had not seen any land records of the five villages at the MC. MC joint commissioner Rajeev Gupta claimed the UT administration handed over land records pertaining to the five villages to the MC’s estate department in 2006 but the records were never transferred to the civic body’s building branch.
“I’ll look into the matter,”was only what he could say.
Another senior civic official said: “No MC official wants to check the land records as they believe it would be very complicated matter and, moreover, they haven’t been asked by their bosses to do so”.
On the other hand, the former chairman of the Hallomajra panchayat, Didar Singh, said: “The entire affair has exposed the lackadaisical functioning of the civic body. It’s been almost eight years now since the administration handed over land records pertaining to the five villages to the MC’s estate branch but civic officials have still not gone through them. Whenever we apply for an NOC, civic officials take over six months to issue it and take the help of retired ‘patwaris’ as they have the old records with them. According to records, nearly 500 files pertaining to building plans in these villages are still awaiting approval.”