RAHIM YAR KHAN: Land owners and citizens in Rahim Yar Khan have been running from pillar to post to obtain documents for land transfer, death, inheritance, registry and others, but counters have not been established by the authorities concerned. This has resulted in severe hardship for locals. Besides, there is an overwhelming increase of errors in land records that were to be computerised, thus causing much trouble for land owners, women and senior citizens.
Facts gathered by Express News revealed that the project aimed to end the Patwari culture in Punjab and ensure the provision of land and property records to the public. The record was to be computerised with the assistance of the World Bank. The said project was initiated during the tenure of the then Punjab CM Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. However, despite the completion of five years of the PML-Q government, the task of computerising the land record remained incomplete.
Later, the responsibility was taken by the PML-N led government. The public was assured for years that their problems will be resolved and all the solutions of problems related to properties will be available within their reach.
The land owners were assured that that they will be able to view records on the computer. However, contrary to the claims, this system did not solve the problems of the public, but rather increased their difficulties.
In Punjab, the government did computerise the system but the work is being carried out at a slow speed. Despite visiting the land record centres for months to obtain documents, people return home without any success. Majority of those who come to the land record centres to obtain documents find errors in names of the land records and rectifying the problem takes many months.
The irony is that no official is present in these centres to facilitate the public. When the Express News scribe visited one of the centres, it transpired that land record of dozens of rural union councils could not be computerised.
The people have complained that land record is still with the Patwari while some of the information has been uploaded online, but they are still deprived of using the online facility.
While speaking to Express News, citizens Rizwan Ahmed, Shaukat Ali, Jameel Ahmed, Sultan Khan and Allah Baksh said that the Punjab government should fulfill its promises with the people and land record centres, established at a cost of millions of rupees, should be computerised in the real sense.
They also demanded of Punjab Chef Minister Shehbaz Sharif take notice of the matter and provide relief to the people. They said that the Patwari system was better than the current process. Even though they had to pay money for it, at least tasks were completed on time, they maintained.
When contacted, the land record centre staff told Express News that they have been facing a shortage of manpower which has led to many problems. They added the Punjab CM ordered that the records of properties should be made online and mobile service should be initiated to obtain documents related to individual property and land.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2018.