Hyderabad: With firm conviction that majority of common people would stand in support of the state government move if and when it introduces reforms in the Revenue Administration (RA) of the state, Chief Minister Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday told district collectors that the new Revenue Act should be in place as early as possible.
Stating that the new Act will become a “big game changer” as far as revenue affairs were concerned for all people in general, and farmers in particular, the chief minister asked the collectors to discuss and deliberate opinions on the new Act to streamline revenue affairs and work to extend corruption-free and timely services to people.
It is worth mentioning that Mr Rao had earlier in February announced his resolve to introducing new Acts relating to panchayat raj, municipalities and revenue administration on the Floor of the Assembly while introducing the interim budget.
After his announcement in the House, several farmers and common people with small land holdings in villages across Telangana state came forward narrating their woes of running around at the mercy of revenue officials’ right from village revenue officers (VRO) to the tahsildars at the mandal-level to get mutation of their lands into revenue records, but to no avail.
Sources in the government revealed that during the collectors meeting today, the chief minister cited several such instances wherein people have faced severe hardships and agony because of the attitude of lower rung officials in the revenue department. Mr Rao opined that this Act would become a big game changer as majority of people, particularly small and medium farmers, would support the government if they are relieved from the harassment of officials, particularly with regards to having to pay bribes for land transactions.
Mr Rao said reiterated to senior officials and collectors that despite the objections of officials from revenue administration, the state government remained firm in bringing the new Act to reform the department.
Sources said that as there were specified provisions in the earlier Act with regard to delivery of services in a time-bound manner, the chief minister told the collectors that every service extended by the department, including correction in revenue records either by adding or deleting names of land holders, issuing of pattadar passbooks, legal heir, caste and income certificates and also other services, should be delivered to highest standards and within pre-specified time-frames. Maintaining that processes relating to punishing errant officers who derelict duties in the current Act were cumbersome, Mr. Rao said the state government wished to have stringent provisions in the proposed new act for removal of officers found guilty of dereliction of duty and amassing wealth through false entries in revenue records.
Making the intentions of the government clear during the meeting, Mr Rao said the government has decided to ensure distribution of conclusive title deeds to all bona fide land owners under the new Act, said sources. They disclosed that Mr Rao elicited opinions of senior officers and collectors on simplifying procedure by removing certain columns in forms for incorporating names of land holders in revenue records.
He also elicited opinion from officers on removal of columns of ‘occupier’ and ‘enjoyer’ in revenue records so that rights of title holders would not be affected when they lease their lands.