HYDERABAD: The Telangana government has rejected the proposal of taking up ‘settlement' process during the upcoming digital survey of lands, raising questions over achieving the goal of ending land disputes in the state once and for all.
The decision was taken in the Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday. The reason cited for this was the revenue department submitting to the government that 99% of land records uploaded on Dharani portal were 'error-free'.
Land laws experts have repeatedly suggested to the government to take up settlement process along with the survey simultaneously to avoid legal complications over land ownership in future as there is a mismatch between lands registered, boundaries mentioned in revenue records and actual field situation.
Experts who were roped in by the state government to suggest measures in bringing revenue reforms had recommended the government to take up settlement along with the survey simultaneously.
They recommended constituting a dispute redressal mechanism like tribunals for taking cognizance of the objections raised by the land owners on fixing of boundaries during digital survey so that they could be resolved expeditiously.
They said only this would give sanctity to land records.
Contrary to the revenue department's claims of having 99% land records in Telangana error- free, the Dharani portal is flooding with complaints on errors in land records as a new helpline has been launched on the portal on June 7 to enable land owners to lodge their grievances. The portal received nearly 10,000 complaints in three days wherein land owners brought the issue of discrepancies in records with regard to the extent of land, ownership etc indicating the gravity of the situation.
The land records on Dharani portal were uploaded since 2016 based on data available with the revenue department without conducting field level verification or survey. These revenue land record details are based on surveys done during Nizam's era in 1930s. All the existing survey numbers given to lands pertain to those given during the Nizam era. The lands changed several hands over the years and the boundaries that were fixed also got altered.
This resulted in mismatch between land records and actual ground situation. There are mismatches in extent, possession, ownership and survey numbers of lands between revenue records and ground reality.
At this juncture, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao announced to take up digital survey of lands to give coordinates for each land parcel and fix boundaries and the pilot survey will begin in 24 villages from June 11.
This raised hopes that all such errors in land records will be resolved with this digital survey. But the government decided to take up the survey based on Dharani details, which are found to be erroneous in several cases.
The erroneous land records were already passed on to Dharani and if digital survey is done again based on these records, these errors will simply be carried forward without serving the purpose of resolving long disputes.