Thiruvananthapuram

Land grab alert system defunct

Encroachers are having a free rein in the absence of the alert mechanism

Amidst mounting complaints of grabbing and encroachments on government land, an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) installed at the Land Revenue Commissionerate to curb such instances has become defunct.

Official sources told The Hindu here that the system with two contact numbers (1800425 and 5255) was set up for the public to alert the government about encroachments and tresspassing on government land. Though the system has been remaining defunct for the last six months, the authorities concerned have not taken any initiative to revive it.

With the Revenue Department officials getting engrossed in the conduct of the Assembly elections, they seldom get time to prevent such activities and in the absence of an alert mechanism, encroachers are having a free rein, the sources said.

Moreover, the recent Cabinet decisions to assign huge tracts of government land to individuals and private organisations have bolstered such violators.

Functioning of the land bank too is at stake since the personnel who had been managing its functions on working arrangement have been returned to their parent positions in the department. The bank does not have a liaison officer for coordinating its functions, the sources said.

All information pertaining to land such as survey number and sketch are maintained in 1,634 village offices across the State. Details of the land identified and demarcated as per the Revenue Settlement Proclamation in 1886 have been included in the Settlement Register and private land in the Thandaper Registers kept in each village office.

Though the land bank was constituted in 2007 as a repository of government land also for scientific inventorisation and professional management of the land, it effectively started functioning only in 2009. Its prime objective was to check encroachment, generate income and also ensure surveillance and protection of government land. Owing to the alleged laxity of the government in properly managing the system, cases of encroachment often escape official attention, the sources said. Though rules stipulate timely completion of survey of government land, the process is still limping.

The Comptroller and Auditor General report in 2014 had pointed out that the objective of forming the land bank could not be achieved even after seven years. The process has not yet attained fruition as expected during its inception.

The delay in remitting the telephone charges is being cited as the reason for the IVRS turning inactive.

This is expected to be revived soon. But the delay is being pointed as the sloppiness in maintaining a system to protect government land, the sources said.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 3:56:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/land-grab-alert-system-defunct/article8428480.ece

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