This old couple begged to pay bribe to official to get land patta in Telangana

Manthu Basavaiah (75) and his wife Lakshmi (70) went begging around with a basket and placards around their necks asking for money to raise money for paying a bribe.
They couple were given their passbook as the revenue department went on an overdrive after their pictures of begging went viral on social media.(HT PHOTO)
They couple were given their passbook as the revenue department went on an overdrive after their pictures of begging went viral on social media.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 26, 2019 02:39 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Hyderabad | By Srinivasa Rao Apparasu

An old couple in Telangana’s Jayashankar Bhupalpally district were forced to beg on streets after the local tehsildar (revenue official) allegedly demanded a bribe to give them their pattadar passbook (government document in the name of the actual owner of a particular plot of land) for their nine acres of land.

The pictures and a video clip of the old couple – Manthu Basavaiah (75) and Lakshmi (70), residents of Azamnagar village, with a begging basket in their hands and placards around their necks asking for money to bribe the official, went viral in the social media in the district on Friday.

Within hours, district collector Vasam Venkateshwarlu directed Bhupalpally revenue divisional officer (RDO) E Venkatachary to look into the matter and ensure that the passbooks were handed over to the couple and they be given possession of the land.

By evening, the revenue officials processed the file. The RDO called the couple to his office and handed over the pattadar passbooks pertaining to 4.10 acres of land. “The remaining piece of land measuring 5.07 acres is in a legal dispute and once the issue is settled, we shall handover the same to the couple,” Venkatachary said.

In the morning, Basavaiah and Lakshmi went begging on the streets of Bhupalpally town seeking alms from shopkeepers. The placards hanging around their necks read that they owned a piece of land for which the revenue authorities were supposed to give fresh pattadar passbook as part of an exercise to overhaul revenue records.

Basavaiah told local reporters that tehsildar Satyanarayana had demanded Rs one lakh for regularizing their piece of land. He alleged that the revenue authorities were trying to assign the same piece of land to some others illegally.

“We have been running from pillar to post for several months. We even staged a dharna in front of the tehsildar office but to no avail, as the officer demanded Rs 1 lakh to hand over the passbook. Having no other way, we had to resort to begging,” he said.

According to N Rajalingamurthy, a resident of Bhupalpalli town who helped the old couple who were begging on streets, they collected Rs 650 through begging till afternoon, before they were stopped by the revenue authorities.

While the tehsildar could not be reached for his reaction, RDO Venkatachary denied the couple’s allegation that the official had demanded bribe for giving passbooks. “There has been a delay in issuance of passbooks due to some land disputes. We are trying to settle the disputes at the earliest,” he said.

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