For Thippanamaradi village at Sandur taluk in Ballari district, the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of India’s Independence) means more than what it does to rest of the country. For, it is true liberation from the administrative hurdles that its inhabitants had been facing for the last six decades in handling their land records.
With their land records settled just a couple of days ahead of the Independence Day, these villages of the erstwhile Sandur Princely State are now gearing up to celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav with more cheers.
The Sandu Princely State had 33 villages at the time of Independence and the province became a part of Indian Union after Independence. In the revenue land settlement drive taken up between 1964 and 1969 after the reorganisation of States, 19 villages had got settlement of their land records. However, 14 villages — Dharmapura, Karthikeshwara, Devagiri, Susheelanagar, Siddapura, Ramgadha, 18-Hulikunte, Ranajithpura, Shankarapura, Muraripura, S.Oblapura, Jodi Bommanahalli, Jodi Kasinayakanahalli, and Thippanamaradi — continued to feel alienated as their land records could not be integrated with the official records of the State for various reasons. The landholders of these unsettled villages had a temporary land record with a “pymasi” survey number. But that was not enough for transacting various land-related businesses.
As a result, the landholders in these villages had to face innumerable restrictions in respect of their landholdings. They were unable to register their sale deeds or avail loans by pledging their lands. They could not even get their agricultural lands converted into non-agricultural purposes. In the absence of proper land records, many landholders even found their records manipulated as could be clearly seen in the mining cases.
The original base records drawn in the late ‘60s in these villages showed a complete mismatch with the present day RTCs (Records of Rights, Tenancy and Cropping information) in terms of the survey number and extent. Hence, it was also very tough to settle any title dispute arising between two parties in these villages in revenue and civil courts. The landholders had to struggle hard to get their rightful compensation when their lands were acquired by the government for any developmental project as their land records did not sync with the database of official land records.
A turning point
As part of the State government’s Village Stay programme, which envisioned the staying of senior public servants in the villages to understand and address the problems at the grassroots level, Ballari Deputy Commissioner Pavan Kumar Malapati stayed at Thippanamaradi village in February. The villagers brought their long-pending land settlement issue to the notice of the officer who immediately promised to resolve the issue before the next Independence Day and also kept his word.
Coming back to the district headquarters, Mr. Malapati assigned the task to Assistant Commissioner Akash S. After the groundwork was done and the objections were addressed, a preliminary notification of settlement was issued in April and the final notification was issued on Thursday, four days before the 75th Independence Day.
“The settlement is completely over in Thippanamaradi. The process for Karthikeshwara is at the final stage and it will hopefully be over in a few days. The process of land settlement of the remaining villages is underway and will be over by the end of this year. Since the area is mining-dominant, we are going carefully. The Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Director of Land Records & Survey Settlement have done a wonderful job,” Mr. Malapati told The Hindu.