Bihar govt to provide ETS machines to amins for speeding up land survey work
The state government will soon provide electronic total station (ETS) machines for measurement of land and survey work being undertaken in 20 districts to newly recruited amins as part of the revenue department’s plans to digitise the land records and speed up the survey work, officials said.
The ETS machines used in survey work are considered accurate in land measurements and removes manual interference in the measurement of land, which is one of the major reasons for land disputes. Amins are those appointed by the government to measure land. They have knowledge of land measurement and survey work.
“Amins will be doing the land measurement at the village level with ETS machines. We are in the process of providing these machines in bulk so that there is more transparency in the measurement of land and corrupt practices are weeded out,” said revenue and land reforms department minister Ram Surat Rai. He said the process of purchasing the ETS machines was in the final stages and the distribution would start from October onwards.
In Bihar, the special survey of land records being held in 20 districts is at different stages like Kistawar (mapping), Khanapurthi (filling the blanks), Tasdiq (attestation). The Kistawar and Khanapurthi are the two main stages of field survey where surveyors and amins are put on duty to measure the land as per the records for their update based on new sale and purchase of the property.
There is already a process underway to digitise the record of rights (Khatiyan) by updating the records of actual owners of the land.
People privy to the matter said the revenue department is also working on a proposal to introduce the system of slot booking of getting one’s land mapped by surveyors. It will help in the transparency of land mapping and provide the landholders with some flexibility in getting their land mapped at an appropriate time of their choice and save them from not having to depend on others to stay at the fields when the mapping work is being done. “The proposal is under consideration,” said the minister.
Keeping in mind the pending legal dispute cases, mainly those related to petty disputes, the revenue department has already asked the circle officers and station houses (SHOs), as well as sub-divisional officers, to hold weekly meetings on each Saturday to review the pendency of cases and take measures for resolving them.
The home and revenue departments, along with Bihar Prashashanik Sudar Mission, have now started working on a plan to segregate all land dispute cases by assessing its nature and complexity by providing a unique code like whether the dispute is related to a personal land dispute, government land encroachment, disputes over land measurement and cases pending at various courts. Officials said the process would be implemented soon and software is being developed for it.
“The weekly meetings at the level of circle officers and SHOs as well as higher officials to review land dispute cases and take necessary steps is going on and giving good results,” said one official in the revenue department.
In Bihar, land dispute is one of the major reasons behind heinous crimes like murder and rape. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, 2019 data, out of 3,138 murder cases reported in 2019, 782 cases were those in which property/land dispute was the motive.
The revenue minister said the government will be soon posting 566 revenue officers at the block level to assist circle officers in handling revenue related matters. “ The posting of new revenue officers would lessen the load of circle officers who are often put on law and order duty and other works, which affects disposal of land-related cases,” Rai said.
New legislation to resolve matters related to land disputes and fixing accountability on officers to dispose of mutation petitions in a time frame is being mulled by the revenue department. People privy to the matter said the proposed law would enable families facing disputes among coparceners (parties holding right in property) to go for mutation by consensus even if one of the parties is against it.
Like, if in family, there are four brothers of which three brothers want to divide their ancestral land but one of the brothers is against it, the rest of the three brothers could move to get the land mutated if there is a consensus and majority view for it. The idea of this new law is to check land-related cases and also update the land records.
Non-division of land or partition and mutation continues to remain one of the major obstacles in the updation of land records because of disputes among families over division and sale of ancestral land. “We are working on this idea and a new law could come. We are taking a legal view on it and necessary action will follow,” said revenue minister Ram Surat Rai.