IAS officer shunted out for planning survey reform

Karnataka: IAS officer shunted out for planning survey reform

IAS officer Munish Moudgil

Getting properties surveyed in the state requires patience, loads of it. Citizens have to wait for months, sometimes for more than a year, due to a shortage of government surveyors. 

With 1.31 lakh survey requests pending for years and only 1,937  surveyors active on the field, Commissioner for Survey, Settlement & Land Records Munish Moudgil came up with an interim measure to tackle this vexing problem. 

He deputed 97 surveyors to work for three months in various districts where the pendency was high. While 60 of them were sent to their neighbouring districts, others were posted to districts hundreds of kilometres from their home. This irked the state government employees association. 

The result: Moudgil, a 1998-batch IAS officer, was transferred on Thursday. 

“Imagine having to wait for months if you want to get your property surveyed because you want to sell it to raise money for a marriage in the family,” Moudgil said. “Ultimately, we work for the citizens. What is the problem for surveyors to go and work in districts where citizens are suffering?” 

Karnataka has some 3,600 government surveyors, but only 1,937 are “active”. At any given point, Moudgil said about 300-400 surveyors are deputed to work on the Upper Krishna Project or with the Bangalore Development Authority. “Another 300 are on leave,” he pointed out.  

The wait time for citizens seeking surveyors is determined by a software-driven process. “Typically, one surveyor is prescribed 23 cases per month. If too many cases are pending, the new applicant has to wait for the application to be assigned and a waiting queue number is generated,” Moudgil explained.

At present, the waiting queue number is 1,279 in Hangal in Haveri, followed by 1,064 in Athani, Belagavi. In Bengaluru and its surroundings (Anekal, Yelahanka, Magadi and Kanakapura), the queue number ranges from 221 to 532.

The IAS officer said the deputation had become an "ego issue and the state employees' association lodged a complaint with the government" against him, seeking his transfer. "I have been targeted for priortising the interests of citizens," he said. 

Moudgil has now been appointed as secretary, department of personnel and administrative reforms.

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