State Government is considering bringing reforms in the functioning of the Revenue Department, by simplifying the procedure for updating land records and attestation of mutations, valuation of land for stamp duty purposes, obtaining various certificates and conversion of leasehold to freehold and framing guidelines for processing of applications under section 118. This was stated by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, while reviewing the progress under various revenue related activities in the Deputy Commissioners Meeting held here under his Chairmanship today.

Chief Minister said that Revenue happens to be the oldest of all the departments and is great concern to common man. He said that cases pertaining to partition, demarcation, mutation, encroachment, correction, abetment and cases under section 118 remain pending at different level needed to be expedited to deliver justice to the people. He said that cases relating to mutations were being entered by the patwaris and attested by revenue officer in the field where reforms were required to be carried. He said that after taking all related aspects into consideration possibilities would be explored to create option for entry/attestation of mutation at tehsil level based on specified documents i.e. registration of sale through software link, attestation/change of ownership on basis of registered sale even in the absence of the parties. He said that in the case of inheritance, party would be required to present requisite documents like death certificate, copy of pariwar register, legal heir certificate, succession certificate and registered will etc.. He directed the deputy commissioners not to delay any of the cases relating to revenue and provide relief to the people by acceding to their requests in a time bound manner.

Prof. Dhumal said that since tehsildar, naib-tehsildars had been empowered to issue various certificates and Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) designated as Appellate Authority and it had been proposed to involve Lok Mitra Kendra to provide different types of certificates to the applicants locally under e-praman with photograph of the holder pasted upon it. He said that Himachali and caste certificates needed to be issued only once which would be valid in perpetuity. He said that simple procedure for valuation of land for stamp duty purposes was required to be adopted by classifying land on the basis of distance from the road and accordingly obtain stamp duty from the parties. He said that Rs. 280.71 crore had been sanctioned under Central Relief Fund/Disaster Management Funds to the deputy commissioners and departments for the current financial year.

Chief Minister said that the State Government was concerned about the ‘benami’ land deals carried in some parts of the State. He said that he had again requested Hon’ble Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court to appoint one sitting judge of the High Court to investigate into such ‘benami’ land deals so that the air was cleared and factual position was placed before the people of Himachal Pradesh. He expressed deep concern over the encroachments which had taken place in some parts of the State which needed to be ejected immediately. He said that some of the encroachers had been applying for regularization of their encroachments on forest land which was out of question as no forest land could be regularized in any case. He said that it was unfortunate that some of the lower level functionaries had been conniving with the vested interests and helping them get illegal agriculturist certificate to purchase land in the State and encroaching upon the government land. He directed the authorities to take strict action against such errant officials and deal with them as per the legal provisions.

Prof. Dhumal said that 96 percent computerization of the revenue records had been completed and soon computer generated copies of the land documents would be available to the people. He said that promotion cases of the naib-tehsildars would also be settled on priority and efforts made to open new patwar schools to get trained revenue officials. He said that wherever necessary services of the retired kanungo could be requisitioned to complete the back log of various revenue cases. He directed the deputy commissioners to work more vigorously and accord top priority to the grievances of the public within their jurisdiction.