In a bid to curb complaints regarding destruction of mangrove patches on privately owned land across the state, including the coastal belt of Konkan, the government has directed the revenue department to review property cards to ensure the existence of mangroves on land is clearly mentioned on them.
Konkan Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said property cards would be updated “on priority” to reflect the presence of mangroves as there was “misuse of such land”.
Deshmukh recently instructed collectors of coastal districts to upgrade the property cards.“A survey was already done…we are making this (mangrove) entry on property cards and it is in process,” Deshmukh said.
The move, officials said, was to ensure that mangrove patches were not “parcelled off”. Several cases of illegal sales and constructions are being noticed in these areas.
Property holders have a card as the ‘record of right’ (RoR), a key document to ascertain ownership title for the property, which is used for legal and purchase-sale purposes.
“Earlier, mangroves were not specifically mentioned on the property card. It was earlier added as an input as in the column of remarks. In our process of digitising the data, we are updating these property cards. The property cards will mention that the land belongs to reserved forests, which in this case is mangroves, and also whether the mangroves belong to the government or are private,” said an official.
The state government has already undertaken a state-wide programme to digitise property cards and make them available online along with the details of change in title, to ensure transparency and curb cases of fraudulent transactions and cheating.
“People will be able to view details online of property cards. Details such as the CTS number, plot number, area in square metres, encumbrances and mutations recorded and now even whether the area occupies any section of a mangrove,” said an official.
Deependra Singh Kushwah, Collector, Mumbai Suburban, said Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre (MRSAC) maps were used to make demarcate areas of mangroves and correspondingly which entity they belong to.
A senior official with the district superintendent of Land Records, Mumbai Suburban, claimed that the data of mangroves onto the property cards had been included since 2009.
Officials pointed out that there were several irregularities noticed even in the areas of Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri.
“Today, it is a known fact that construction permissions are given with several violations with the authorities concerned conveniently looking in the other direction. Everyone should be aware that these mangroves are protected area, especially at the time of making a land deal. To mention mangroves on the property card is a step in the right direction and will add value to the situation,” said environmentalist Reji Abraham.