Telangana gears up for land survey, opposition sceptical

Hyderabad, Aug 28: Three years after conducting intensive household survey, the Telangana government is set to embark on another key survey – this time on land.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) hopes the survey, to be conducted from next month, will rectify and cleanse land records, and thus address land disputes and litigations. The opposition, however, is sceptical and views the entire plan with suspicion.

The survey is considered a revolutionary step as such an exercise was last undertaken in 1936 by the then Nizam.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is keen to create history by undertaking the survey after a gap of 81 years.

KCR advised farmers to take up the responsibility of making this survey a success. He wants every farmer to become leader of his village. He asked all farmers to come out voluntarily to make the survey a great success and not to remain silent spectators.

“After the survey, land records will be rectified. Farmers will be given new passbooks. Farmers need not run government offices for months together for solutions to their land issues,” said KCR.

“The survey is done to implement transparent and corruption free policies of the government,” he added.

The TRS chief believes survey will offer a permanent solution to land disputes and will help in making maintenance of land records and registration procedures simple and transparent.

If things go as planned, a citizen will receive an SMS alert on his cellphone when a land transaction is carried out in his name.

The land survey will be conducted to compile land records of a total of 2.7 crore acres spread over 10,875 villages by considering the village as a unit and prevent any land disputes in future.

The surveying personnel would stay put in the villages for conducting the survey and they will update land records online.

KCR has asked officials to do a complete revision of land records to specify the land available in the state as well as identify the authorised landowners and make it available in public domain to avoid any disputes in future.

 The survey is also important for effective implementation of the new scheme to provide Rs 8,000 per year for every acre as annual agriculture capital to every farmer from next kharif season. The Agriculture Department found that the land records obtained through their survey was a complete mismatch to the land records data available with the Revenue Department.

This lead to a confusion for the government how should it implement the input subsidy scheme and to whom and what basis? “In case of any mistake thousands of crores of rupees will get into a scam,” KCR observed at a recent meeting.

 The state government’s plan has received appreciation from the Centre, which promised all support. The Centre hoped that this will be a role model for other states.

 The details and data on forest lands, Government land, Endowments lands, land being utilised for the public utility purposes, lands under the government buildings, lands under tanks, lakes, other water resources will also be obtained and recorded. KCR also wants the details and information on lands alienated by the government, lands assigned by the government and land acquired by the government to be collected and recorded.

 The opposition parties, however, are sceptical about the government’s plan for a comprehensive land survey. They see the survey with a greater degree of suspicion.

 Main opposition Congress party and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have even said that the TRS could have ulterior motives for conducting the survey.

 They criticised the government for its decision to conduct the survey with the farmers associations’ coordination committees formed with TRS workers, instead of using government machinery. They feel that the survey is being conducted to achieve some political objectives.

 Leader of opposition K. Jana Reddy said the survey was planned in a manner to create differences among people in every village to suit the political objectives of the ruling party.

 He questioned the need for a fresh survey when details of agricultural and other lands held by each family were gathered during the intensive household survey in 2014.

 The opposition parties see this as a TRS programme as the chief minister is not involving other parties. They said instead of calling an all-party meeting KCR held a meeting with TRS MPs, MLAs, MLCs and other people’s representatives on the land survey.

 Political observers say the desired objectives of the survey may be achieved only if the government allays the apprehensions of the opposition and ensure greater participation of people.

 They feel the data collected during land survey should be used effectively for the purposes mentioned by the chief minister.

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