Karnataka govt struggles to update land records

Karnataka govt struggles to update land records

Authorities say the pendency is largely due to mutation, or transfer, in the ownership of property over and beyond its original size

Bengaluru Urban has over 9,600 RTC applications pending.

Karnataka, a pioneer in digitising land records, is having trouble updating the records of rights, tenancy and crops (RTC), a key land ownership document. 

The RTC, also known as Pahani, contains information such as owners’ details, area, soil type, nature of possession of land, encumbrance and so on. Updating or making corrections in the document is critical to ascertain ownership of land, given that the RTCs are presumptive in nature.  

But government data shows that 1.25 lakh applications to update RTCs are pending for the last three years, which is odd considering the strides the state made in digitising land records through its flagship Bhoomi software over the last two decades. 

Authorities say the pendency is largely due to mutation, or transfer, in the ownership of property over and beyond its original size.

For example, an RTC has one column showing the total extent, boundaries and classification of the property (akarband). Another column shows the mutation. If the mutated land is bigger than the akarband, revenue authorities are required to follow a cumbersome process to nix the mismatch, which involves issuing notices and so on. 

“Tahsildars are required to identify such cases and also examine applications (for correction in RTC) that are received through revenue adalats, and escalate them to assistant commissioners for disposal,” an official explained. 

Bidar has the highest number of applications seeking corrections in RTC (26,200) followed by Chamarajanagar (10,825). Bengaluru Urban has over 9,600 applications pending. 

“I don’t know why the government isn’t taking this seriously,” former revenue minister RV Deshpande said. When he was in office, Deshpande kick-started a pilot project to make land ownership dispute-free.

“RTCs have a presumptive title. So, if the records aren’t perfect, it leads to problems. The project we started couldn’t reach the desired goal,” he said. 

According to Principal Secretary (Revenue) M Maheshwar Rao, the government will soon issue orders asking officials to take up a drive across districts. “We have found that in the case of death, heirs to a property have not been recorded in the RTCs,” Rao said. 

Asked if the RTC correction process can be taken online, Rao said he would review it.