Hyderabad: A major chunk of complaints made to the Anti Corruption Bureau are against Tahsildars and village revenue officers (VROs). Bribes are being demanded from farmers to hand over passbooks which it is their right to possess.
A source told this newspaper, "Land prices have exponentially grown in interior parts of Telangana. Farmers are afraid of losing their properties to grabbers if their records are not uploaded online. Also, for beneficiaries of Rythu Bandhu scheme, it is mandatory to computerise the documents. Taking advantage of this, the VRO and Tahsildar are demanding bribes in accordance with the land prices in the district. In the case of Keshampet, since the land prices are high, the bribe demanded was Rs 8 lakh.
Passbooks are similar to bank account books and contain all the details such as survey number, name of the land owner, registration number, and extent of the landholding.
The state government has been urging landlords to computerise their land records against the earlier manual documentation. It is alleged that officials are minting money by deliberately making changes or deleting records.
“A bribe is demanded for changing ownership in case of purchase, or a name change in case of transfer of land. The corruption in the Revenue department is known to the Telangana Chief Minister who had once announced that it would be dismantled and reconstructed,” added a source.