Revenue Minister Ashoka faces flak over land matters

Revenue Minister Ashoka faces flak over land matters

Revenue Minister Ashoka replies to a question in Legislative Assembly in Bengaluru on Monday.

Revenue Minister R Ashoka on Monday expressed helplessness on acting against errant sub-registrars, during a debate in the Legislative Assembly about the fraudulent sale of 21.19 acres of precious government land in Yelahanka in Bengaluru. 

Former minister Krishna Byre Gowda, who represents Byatarayanapura, raised the issue of survey number 75/4 measuring 21.19 acres in Chokkanahalli in Yelahanka, which he said had been sold illegally. “The records of rights, tenancy and crops (RTC) clearly says it is government land. It cannot be sold at all. How did the sub-registrar allow the sale to be registered?” Gowda said, during Question Hour. 

Gowda added that a report from the forensic science laboratory confirmed that the documents had been fudged. “I brought this to the notice of the authorities in early January. But no action was taken until I sent this question through the Speaker. Does it require members to raise a question in the Assembly for the government to take action,” he asked. 

In his reply, Ashoka said the sub-registrar concerned had been suspended. “But he came back after moving court against the suspension. Then, we transferred him to Tumakuru, but again, he came back after moving Karnataka Administrative Tribunal. This is how our system is,” he said. 

Having said that, Ashoka assured the House that the government will protect the land.

Gowda also claimed that under the Byatarayanapura sub-registrar limits, the sale of 10 properties had been registered using the same property ID. “Every property has a unique ID. But in 10 cases, the ID of one property had been used to sell 10 different properties. How did this manipulation happen?” he sought to know.

Senior JD(S) legislator A T Ramaswamy, who earlier led a joint House committee to study encroachment on government land, said Bengaluru had become a haven for landgrabbers. 

During another discussion, Ashoka admitted to irregularities during survey works, especially when it comes to identifying cases of RTCs having multiple ownership and converting them into single ownership (phodi-free). “Surveying has become a big knot. There are irregularities. In fact, retired tahsildars have signed off in some cases,” Ashoka said. 

Ramaswamy lamented that the phodi-free drive, which the government launched in 2015, had become a bitter pill for farmers. “If you don’t simplify the process, then farmers will continue to suffer,” he told Ashoka. 

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