At a time when the state government is eyeing prime government
land as a revenue-generating resource, it has been revealed that
lakhs of land records are missing! Officials of the revenue
department fear that tens of thousands of acres of expensive
government land has fallen victim to encroachers and the
government is left with no easy way to identify the losses.
For instance, as much as 20,000 acres of government land is in the
clutches of land grabbers or caught in legal wrangles (with rival
claims of ownership) in just Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts.
In the absence of proper land records, the government is finding
it difficult to resume these prime land parcels.
The missing documents include village maps, Field Measurement
Books (FMB) or Tippons and Sethwars, which are considered the
original, parent records as they provide classification of the
land, extent and pattadar names. The fact that the records are
missing came to the notice of the authorities during scanning and
digitization of land records in the 10 districts.
Officials now fear that un scrupulous elements, taking advantage
of the chaos during the agitation for separate Telangana, may have
either stolen or destroyed a majority of such `missing’ documents.
“Some influential persons and land grabbers have either damaged or
taken away the revenue records as it would expose land
encroachments.This has been happening for the past few years as
the land rates are skyrocketing even in districts such as
Karimnagar. The land records in Telangana were prepared in single
copies, while three copies of maps and documents are available in
residuary AP .With only one copy , it is easy to manipulate land
records,“ a senior land survey official told HNN.
Official sources said that of the total 11,212 villages in
Telangana, 795 village maps are missing. These maps are vital for
identification of village boundaries and provide an idea about
water bodies and government land parcels.
The highest number of village maps, 177, were found missing in
Medak district, followed by 159 maps in Karimnagar district. While
nine old revenue village maps are missing in Hyderabad, 125 maps
were untraced in the Ranga Reddy district.
Another important revenue record is Field Measurement Books (FMB),
otherwise known as Tippons. They provide crucial information as it
is a sketch or plan of a survey number. The maps are tied in the
form of a book.
Of 41,42,472 measurement books, only 31,84,284 are available with
the revenue department and 9,48,188 were untraceable. Of these,
1,48,602 in Ranga Reddy district and 458 in Hyderabad are missing.
The highest number of lost FMBs was in Karimnagar district, with
1.63 lakh books missing. Meanwhile, of the total 11,212 Sethwars,
only 7,883 are available and 3,329 are missing.
The revenue department, which submitted details of the missing
records to the assembly , claimed that many missing documents are
nearly 75 years old. A majority of those available are torn or are
in a brittle condition due to mishandling and ageing.
Officials of the Survey Settlement and Land Records said the
scanning and digitization of revenue records (Bhumiti) has been
going on in all the districts and 80% of the work has been
completed.“Except in Hyderabad core city, where Town Survey and
Land Records (TSLR) exercise was done in the late 1970s, the land
details in Telangana districts are not clear.
Now the state government is proposing National Land Records
Modernization Programme with central assistance, which will help
in preserving the existing records but not the lost ones,“ an
assistant director of Survey Settlement and Land Records said.