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‘Telangana’s New Revenue Reforms Hasty and Technically Unsound’

The high court has directed officials to not seek Aadhaar, caste and family members' details of buyers, sellers and witnesses for the property registration process.
‘Telangana’s New Revenue Reforms Hasty and Technically Unsound’

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

Hyderabad: After a gap of over three and half months, on December 14, Telangana state government began registration of non-agricultural properties using the old system but with several changes instead of its earlier plans to use the Dharani Portal for the process. However, in the last four days, buyers, sellers and even several registration officials have been raising concerns over the registration process.

In October, the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) led government had launched its new Integrated Land Records Management System or Dharani Portal for the registration of properties in accordance with its new revenue act – The Telangana Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Books Act, 2020. 

Presently, Telangana High Court is hearing eight public interest litigations opposing the state government’s move to digitise the revenue records by feeding data into Dharani portal. The registration of agricultural properties began in November first week, but for the non- agricultural properties, the high court ordered a stay as appealed in one of the pleas. 

Earlier in December, the court asked the government to use the old procedure, the Computer Aided Administration of Registration Department (CARD) system, for registration of non- agriculture properties. Subsequently, concerned over the misuse of sensitive data and data privacy, the court also directed the officials to not seek Aadhaar, caste and family members' details of buyers, sellers and witnesses for registration.

Also read: Telangana’s Dharani Process Must be Put on Hold, Experts Say

As the registrations began on Monday, numerous concerns and confusions popped up among buyers and sellers as the officials have included several changes to the old procedure. For instance, certificate for Layout Regularisation Scheme (LRS) of the property is made mandatory for registration and the title deed being provided does not include information such as details of linked documents and dimensions of the property.

“I bought my apartment 10 years ago when LRS was not compulsory for registration and now I’m not able to confirm with my seller if he had taken LRS for the property or not. As LRS is needed for registration now, I’m not able to sell my apartment,” said a resident from Vanasthalipuram in Hyderabad, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Padmanabha Reddy, secretary of the Hyderabad-based Forum for Good Governance, said that the state government’s decision of stopping the registration process was unneeded and Dharani was launched hastily without addressing the obvious contingencies. 

“The government’s revenue reforms are creating various forms of confusion. It is to be noted that the land records of Telangana have not been clear since Nizam’s regime. The government must have first addressed the existing discrepancies. The Dharani portal turned out to be technically unsound and the LRS was linked with registrations for increasing government revenues,” he added. 

Reportedly, the Dharani Portal had been used on an experimental basis in a few districts in the state over the past two years, which posed several problems for farmers.

Furthermore, revenue officials have reportedly raised concerns with the government saying that the Dharani portal has no provisions for rectifying clerical mistakes and the revenue act has no provisions for resolving the problems of “Inam, ceiling, tenancy, POT, assignment, Wakf and Bhoodan land.”

Also read: Telangana’s New Layout Regularisation Scheme Sparks Protests

According to leading Telugu daily Eenadu, an estimated three lakh property registrations have remained pending in the last three months and the banks have been hesitating to give credit to real estate and allied industries owing to delays with Dharani during the period.

Meanwhile on Thursday, December 17, the state government held a Cabinet sub-committee meeting on the registration process. Roads and Buildings Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy said that necessary action will be taken after compiling suggestions and objections from all stakeholders including bankers, buyers, sellers, realtors and others. 

Digitisation of land records was first attempted in Hyderabad in 1998 with the Computer Aided Registration of Deeds project which was funded by the World Bank. However, the project was a failure.

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