–Mobile vans project on cards to sort land-related issues of people on doorsteps
–Patwaris say PLRA ‘cannot function’ without their involvement, experience as landowners laud authority’s initiative
–PLRA spokesperson says aiming to get project running by year’s end
LAHORE: In order to eliminate patwari culture and facilitate the people on their doorsteps, the Punjab Land Records Authority (PLRA) has planned to launch mobile vans in its nine divisional headquarters, Pakistan Today learnt Monday.
The project, to be launched in Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Rawalpindi and Sahiwal, will facilitate the people, especially the elderly, who are unable to visit the authority’s service centres.
“Earlier people used to visit patwaris for the issuance of fard and mutation process. However, PLRA has now made the entire procedure easier in a bid to facilitate the masses better,” sources said.
They added that the project that comes after the success of the authority’s service centres, will be run with the help of fully equipped mobile vans connected to the service centres concerned.
A patwari from the Lahore Circle on the condition of anonymity said that PLRA could not perform without the participation of patwaris because the land record system being practised in the Indo-Pak region was maintained by them.
“We are trained and know how to maintain all the land revenue records. Only we can carry out proper harvest inspection of every field. We are undoubtedly the lowest officials in the revenue hierarchy but matter the most.”
Patwaris, he added, are trained to assist the state in acquiring private land for the construction of schools, motorways etc and have sufficient experience in helping higher officials in the allotment of resumed land to tenants under land reforms schemes.
“We are the basic officials in relief efforts as we facilitate the disbursement of disaster-related relief. We know how to collect land-related taxes and also perform additional duties such as helping in the delimitation of constituencies, elections; population, agriculture as well as livestock census,” he said.
He added that the staff trained by PLRA is working on daily wages and is not serious about land records. “They make several mistakes in the digitisation of records and no practice of jamabandi has been started by PLRA as of yet either,” the patwari said.
“I admit there are a lot of patwaris who are involved in frauds and corruption but all of them are not corrupt, they are well trained and can perform a better role in the digitisation of land records. The government should think about them.”
A landowner from Okara, Nasir Hussain, on the other hand, told Pakistan Today that a person who bought a piece of land in a village had to file an application to the patwari of the village or tehsildar concerned.
“It is an uphill task to deal with these revenue officers as they are corrupt and ask for money. They even blackmail the landowners,” he said and added that not many people can get their complaints addressed as not all of them are aware of the laws.
However, he added, after the digitisation of land records no such problems would arise and patwaris’ corruption would be put an end to. “This mobile vans service will also bring much-needed relief to the people and I don’t think anyone would hesitate in paying the fee for this service.”
“The patwaris in rural areas have an alliance with the landlords and only provide the influential with doorstep services,” he said.
PLRA spokesperson Nadia said the authority was mulling the mobile van project that would facilitate the people on their doorsteps.
“We will follow the PPRA rules for the procurement of vans and these vans will be fully equipped with staff and land records. We are aiming to launch the project by the end of this year so that the patwari culture can be gotten done with,” she added.