The Andhra Pradesh government may face an uphill task to take up registration of properties at village/ward secretariats with restricted jurisdiction on location of assets unlike the present practice of state-wide registration facility.
At present, registration of properties is being carried out at all 294 sub-registrar offices state-wide, irrespective of location of property, with an exception for Srikakulam district where properties are being registered district wise. This means, any person can register his or her property at any SRO irrespective of location of property.
However, the current government aimed to introduce registration of properties at village/ward secretariats to decentralise the whole exercise and make such a service accessible within the reach of people living in villages and wards. Accordingly, a sub-registrar office at Takkellapadu village secretariat of Jaggampeta mandal in Krishna district last December as a pilot project.
As part of preparation to implement the project all over the state, land survey with the help of drones is being taken up and so far it has been completed in about 51 villages out of nearly 45,000 villages and digital maps are also being prepared for survey of lands. For this, panchayat secretaries and digital assistants are also being trained to take up registration of properties at village/ward secretariats.
Sources say when there are 294 SROs with state-wide jurisdiction, the registration of properties is being affected on and off, for varied reasons like earlier when registrations were delayed due to data migration to new servers and the exposure of financial scam worth a few crores of rupees owing to some lacunae in the software and also for want of proper supervision by senior officers.
In this new system, as the registration of property has to be taken up only in the village or ward where the property is located, the panchayat secretary who is entrusted with the task of registration of properties plays a key role and he or she has to face political influence from local leaders like sarpanch to seek financial favour to go ahead with registration process.
Moreover, sources say that updating land records by the revenue authorities is a gigantic task as they have been facing a series of hurdles with lands involved in several litigations or placed in prohibited list are being taken up for registration.
It is learnt that the proposal to limit the jurisdiction of registration of properties to village/ward secretariats from the existing state level, has been opposed even by the top officials during the initial period. However, as the Chief Minister wanted it for decentralisation of registration for the benefit of people, the officials started working on it.
A senior revenue official said, “Once a property document is registered by mistake with a wrong survey number or owner or any other issue, only civil courts have the power to do anything with them and it takes years to sort out issues. So, it requires highly trained personnel, fool-proof software and proper supervision to ensure the registration of properties to be taken up at village/ward secretariats hassle-free.”
Looks like this new land registration system is going to further complicate the process in an already wired government system in Andhra Pradesh.