JAMMU: To tackle land mafia and retrieve encroached government land, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has set a deadline of July 31 to complete survey and digitisation of land records across the union territory, official sources said on Wednesday.
The decision was taken after the administration learnt that illegal entries of encroached about nine lakh kanal state and forest land in the Jammu region by the land mafia have been officially deleted, and the land restored to the government only “on papers”, they said.
According to the sources, near about 21 lakh acres of state and forest land have been encroached in Jammu and Kashmir by the land mafia in league with revenue officials over the past several decades, taking advantage of several orders of the earlier governments.
In a bid to break this nexus and find changes made in land records, the Lieutenant Governor administration has strengthened the department of land records by inducting various officers at district levels as settlement commissioners recently to ensure speedy digitisation of land records and deletion of the illegal entries of state lands in the name of private persons, they said.
Lt Governor Girish Chandra Murmu has given clear directions to the officials to complete the digitisation of land records by July end as a final deadline, the sources said.
Murmu said this after reviewing the progress of the digitisation of land records in J&K under the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP) and expressed concern over the slow speed and output of the work, they said.
In this direction, the administration has strengthened the survey and land records department by posting directors in districts of Doda, Baramulla, Udhampur and Rajouri and others districts on June 26, the sources said.
“The laws and acts were used to usurp the government lands in a planned way, including under the Roshni Act,” they said.
“Those who had state land under their cultivation in Kharif 1958 AD, were given tenancy rights of such state land vide government notification LB 6. Subsequently, vide S-432 notification, such tenants of the state agricultural land were given proprietary rights, but without right to alienate such land,” a senior official said.
“In districts of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda as well as in other districts, a major scam has happened wherein some corrupt revenue officers have mutated land in favour of those under notification of S-432 who were even not born in 1958,” the official sources said.
“A huge chunk of state land has been illegally mutated under notification S-432 in favour of undeserving people,” they added.
In 1970, when agrarian reforms were introduced vide J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, the then government had put a ban on LB-6 and mutations under S-432.
“But when Ghulam Nabi Azad became the chief minister of J&K, he deliberately removed this ban on S-432 to encourage illegal transfer of state land to occupants born after 1958,” the sources added.
The revenue department has already missed three earlier deadlines — February 2018, March 2019 and June 2019 — for completion of the digitisation of land records in the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu in phase I, they said.
The digitisation process was started by the revenue department in 2015 through its land records management agency, a nodal agency of the department.
The official data presented by the then state government in the erstwhile legislative assembly regarding digitisation revealed that against the target of scanning 666.49 lakh revenue documents, only 164.61 lakh revenue documents (58.77 lakh in Kashmir and 105.84 lakh in Jammu) had been scanned till December 2017.