Hyderabad: A Philippines-based company has acquired an Indian company that manages the Telangana government's Dharani portal, triggering fears in some quarters about the safety of the land records in the state.
Last week, bankrupt non-banking lender IL&FS Group sold its subsidiary TerraCIS Technologies Ltd, which runs the TS government’s integrated land records management system, Dharani, to Makati, Philippines-based
investment company Falcon SG Holding (Philippines), Inc.
Falcon SG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore-based Falcon Investments Pte Ltd. IL&FS had sold 52.26 per cent stake in the company that runs Dharani portal to Falcon for Rs 1,275 crore.
Apart from Telangana’s Dharani portal, TerraCIS also runs portals to manage integrated land registration systems in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs data, the Philippine company — the new owner of the entity that runs Dharani portal — has appointed five directors -- Gadhi Sridhar Raju, Karthik Krishnan, Ashish Shukla, Weiyang Mark Lim and Mei Mei Michelle Lee -- on the board of TerraCIS Technologies.
Telangana’s Dharani portal was launched on October 29, 2020 after over three years of background work. According to chief secretary Somesh Kumar, the Dharani web portal had seen 5.14 crore hits and completed close to 10 lakh transactions in one year.
However, the sale of Terracis Technologies has raised eyebrows, as there were those who feared that the move would endanger data security of lakhs of people whose only proof of ownership of their land is a mere entry in the Dharani portal.
Reacting to the development, BJP leader Dharam Guruva Reddy said poor people could lose their hard-earned land because data is coming into the hands of foreigners.
“Dharani has many issues. The government has systematically nullified many time-tested practices like village maps to identify people’s land. The Dharani portal has no entry about 24 lakh acres of assigned land, which was given to poor people by way of a welfare push. With the company running this portal going into the foreign hands, the poor are under threat of losing their hard-earned land,” said Guruva Reddy.
He said some people are using the Dharani portal run by foreigners to confiscate data and divert land to their benamis or private companies.
City-based entrepreneur Gadhi Sridhar Raju, who joined the board of TerraCIS, allayed such fears over the data safety.
“The Telangana government will have all the access controls and we have been restructuring things in such a way that all the TerraCIS operations across India including the Dharani in Telangana will be eventually handled by an Indian company,” Sridhar Raju told Deccan Chronicle. “We are supported by investment partners — Gateway Partners, and Avenue Capital Group,” he added....