Despite lapse of 5 yrs, Revenue Deptt sleeping over SVC’s recommendations

Inaction even after repeated instructions by Governor
No end to complaints relating to mutations, issuance of PRCs

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 14: Notwithstanding repeated directives by the previous as well as present Governor about strict adherence to the recommendations being made by the State Vigilance Commission from time to time, those at the helm of affairs in the Revenue Department are sleeping over the advisory issued by the Commission more than five years back for streamlining the process of providing various services to the people.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that on the basis of large number of complaints about inconvenience being faced by the people in obtaining different services from the field functionaries of the Revenue Department, the State Vigilance Commission vide Circular No.03 dated June 24, 2014 had issued several recommendations to the Revenue Department.
While pointing towards attestation of mutations, issuance of Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs), fard-intikhab and demarcation of land etc, the Vigilance Commission had observed, “most of these are the basic services which are required to be given under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Public Services Guarantee Act, 2011 but the time limit mentioned in the Act is not being adhered to which is causing lot of inconvenience to the general public at large and very purpose of the legislation stands defeated”.
“Though detailed guidelines have already been laid down under various statutory rules and revenue laws for the procedure to be followed by the revenue authorities at different levels yet the same are also not being implemented in letter and spirit”, the Vigilance Commission had further observed.
Accordingly, the Commission had issued guidelines for strict compliance and copies of the same were also forwarded to the Divisional Commissioners and all the Deputy Commissioners for appropriate action at their end. “However, despite lapse of over five years no serious step has been initiated to give practical shape to the guidelines/recommendations of the Vigilance Commission”, sources informed.
“The practice of attesting mutations at the headquarters instead in the field that too in the presence of concerned parties/stake holders, Lambardar, Chowkidar, Sarpanch and Panch and other prominent persons of the village body is still going on in major parts of the State”, they said, adding “due to this practice there is no end to the complaints relating to alleged fraudulent mutations”.
Similarly, people are still facing hassles in obtaining Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) due to demand of lot of documents by the Revenue authorities although the Vigilance Commission had recommended that Commissioner/Secretary to Government Revenue Department should specify clearly the documents required for the purpose.
“The officials dealing with the subject are still demanding documents at per their discretion mainly because the Revenue Department has failed to ensure display of list of documents required for issuance of PRCs in the majority of the offices at all tehsils for the information of general public”, sources said.
In order to reduce the interface of the general public directly with the field functionaries of the Revenue Department, the Vigilance Commission had recommended that single window system should be adopted along with online submission of the application forms and other documents with display of updated status of the applications in all the districts, sub-divisions and tehsil headquarters.
However, this facility has been made available only in some offices despite lapse of over five years as a result of which people continue to face immense difficulties in obtaining different services from the Revenue Department, sources informed, adding “moreover, no major step has been initiated for computerization of entire record pertaining to the issuance of all certificates”.
They further informed that ensuring regular administrative inspections at different levels has also not received due attention of the Revenue Department although this was imperative to check interpolations, cuttings, insertions and changes in the entries in the revenue record with ulterior motives.
“The inaction on recommendation in this regard is notwithstanding the fact that such a practice is leading to litigations causing inconvenience and harassment to the general public and loss to the exchequer”, sources further said.
They further said, “it is a matter of serious concern that the Revenue Department is sleeping over the recommendations despite the fact that previous Governor N N Vohra and present Governor Satya Pal Malik laid thrust a number of times on prompt action on the suggestions of the Vigilance Commission by all the concerned departments so as to ensure transparency and accountability in their functioning”.