J&K not interested in updating records despite facing numerous land scams

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Dec 6: Shocking it may sound but it is a fact that Jammu and Kashmir is not interested in updating and modernizing deficiencies ridden land records despite facing numerous land scams worth several crores of rupees.
This can be gauged from the fact that Jammu and Kashmir has surrendered Rs 988.56 lakh sanctioned by the Department of Land Records of Government of India under National Land Record Modernization Programme (NLRMP).
The main aim of NLRMP is to usher in a system of updated land records, automated and automatic mutation, integration between textual and spatial records, interconnectivity between revenue and registration to replace the present deeds registration and presumptive title system with that of conclusive titling with title guarantee.
This scheme was launched in Jammu and Kashmir during 2008-09 financial year. Though other States of the country performed well and made full use of the funds sanctioned by the Union Government, J&K remained non-serious right from the beginning despite being aware of the fact that land records in this State are full of deficiencies and leading to land scams worth several crores of rupees.
According to the official data, the Department of Land Records, Government of India released Rs 65.63 lakh during 2008-09 financial year to J&K Government for implementation of NLRMP in two districts.
During next financial year (2009-10), the Union Government did not sanction any assistance as performance of J&K was not satisfactory. During 2010-11, the Union Government sanctioned Rs 235.20 lakh.
From 2008-09 till October 31, 2014, the Government of India sanctioned Rs 988.56 lakh for implementation of NLRMP in nine districts of the State. But State Government failed to make use of the funds.
“The dashboard of the Department of Land Records vis-à-vis implementation of scheme indicates that J&K has not submitted utilization report”, sources said, adding “the concerned authorities of the State have rather surrendered the funds thereby clearly exposing that they don’t want to rectify the deficiencies ridden land records of the State”.
In response to a question, sources said that initially exercise under NLRMP was initiated by starting Record of Rights activity in 1729 villages of Jammu and Kashmir but no interest was shown in carrying further this exercise for obvious reasons.
They disclosed that Secretary, Department of Land Records, Government of India, Vandana Kumari Jeena in a recent meeting with the concerned officers of the J&K Government took serious note of non-implementation of NLRMP and conveyed resentment to them.
According to the sources, the concerned authorities of J&K had even engaged around 200 officials from time to time for providing assistance in settlement works but they  were never utilized for the intended purpose.
“Recently, these officials were placed at the disposal of the newly created administrative units instead of utilizing their services for the purpose for which they were engaged”, sources said while disclosing that due to non-seriousness of those at the helm of affairs in the Revenue Department, no settlement exercise is going on in Jammu and Kashmir at present.
“The fate of NLRMP clearly indicates that the concerned authorities don’t want to get deficiencies removed from the land records and indirectly want to favour the land mafia, which is spreading its tentacles by taking advantage of glaring shortcomings in the records”, sources said.
Had this not been the intention why the NLRMP funds were surrendered despite the fact that such a scheme would have done wonders in Jammu and Kashmir like in other parts of the country, sources questioned.


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