The launch of bio-metric scanner to obtain fingerprint impressions of people involved in land transactions and installation of cameras in sub-registrar offices has already speeded up the registration process. Officials of the Registration Department expect the initiatives to usher in transparency and eliminate fake land deals.

The new initiatives were launched last November across the State as part of steps to boost e-governance. Unlike earlier when people had to spend hours to complete the process of registration, the new initiative has helped them finish the work faster, provided they have all supporting documents in order, say officials in the Registration Department headquarters here.

Elaborating further, a senior official said all proceedings inside the office of the sub-registrar are recorded through internet protocol (IP) cameras. Visuals are beamed at the zonal offices and also at the office of the Inspector General of Registration in Chennai for remote monitoring. “Officers can supervise transactions in real time at all the 575 sub-registrar’s offices in the State. It is already keeping the middlemen from entering the sub-registrar’s offices,” he said.

Further, fingerprint impressions of the property’s seller and purchaser are recorded through a bio-metric scanner. A receipt with the fingerprint impression and a photograph is issued along with a compact disc that has a recording of the proceedings.

“It is good the government is using technology when it is available. I was able to complete my work in less than 15 minutes,” said Desiga Doraisingh Chella Nachiyar, a former headmistress of Bentinck Girls Higher Secondary School. On the flip side though, said I.S.Mani, a real estate dealer, was the receipt issued. “The photocopy might fade in less than three months. While new methods are welcome, they could have retained the earlier practice of affixing a receipt on the back of the original document,” he suggested.

Officials said a sum of about Rs. 1.38 crore was spent on purchasing the bio-metric fingerprint scanners and web cameras. The policy note for 2013-14 of the Department of Commercial Taxes and Registration states that Rs. 3.47 crore was spent on buying the IP cameras while an additional Rs. 9.31 crore would be spent on annual maintenance. “The objective is to eliminate corruption, bring in greater transparency and keep touts away,” the official said.