New Delhi: Speaking in the Lok Sabha during zero hour, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has said that the work to prepare land ownership records will be completed within the next five years.

This record will be available online for the convenience of land holders. The detailed file of an owner will be available with his or her photograph. Ramesh has also mentioned that his ministry will strive to issue photo-ID cards to the owners of land.

He admitted that the records of land ownership are in poor shape. Many states have done nothing for past many years to update the records. No step has been taken in Bihar since 1907, whereas UP has no records since 1957 and in Andhra Pradesh since 1931. This shoddiness of the state governments has caused many problems which is apparent from the enormously large number of court cases of land dispute in the country. Moreover, the government along with the land owners and investors have faced lot of problems when it comes to acquire lands for industrial and infrastructural development.

It is noteworthy that the Centre is providing financial aid to the state governments for computerization and digitization of land ownership records. Unfortunately, many states are aloof to such moves of the Centre. Ramesh says, the state governments fear that their initiatives to update the land ownership records could give birth to a large number of court cases.

Bihar government has been given Rs 45 crore for this purpose but disappointingly mere 15 crore has been spent. The performance of the states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala is worst in maintaining the records of land ownership. But the performance of other states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra is commendable and they are about to complete them in this regard. However, the state governments of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh etc are working satisfactorily on this front.

Ramesh informed the house that maps of lands will be prepared after computerization of the land ownership records which will also subsequently made online. By doing this, the online record of land will be automatically amended with the change in the ownership of a particular plot of land.

The minister said that a meeting of the revenue ministers of all the states has been convened next month to chalk out next course of action.

The government will also table a model bill in the next session of Parliament in this regard. The Centre will try to convince the states to enact strong and effective laws on the line of the proposed model bill to decide the ownership of land.

(JPN/Bureau)

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