Jharkhand Chief Minister reacted sharply to counterpart Nitish Kumar’s announcement that Bihar would hand over more than 82,000 revenue maps related to 29,000-odd villages to Jharkhand.
In a statement issued from Jamshedpur through his press advisor, Das said on Saturday: “Politics is being played on the issue. What is the point of announcing a decision after meeting a person who is not part of the government…we have made all the payments and the government has requested Bihar several times.”
Earlier, in an official statement issued by the Bihar CM it was said that Marandi requested him to transfer the original maps to Jharkhand. The CM, subsequently, decided that the same would be done. Senior officials of the departments concerned were also present during the meeting, the statement said. Marandi could not be contacted despite repeated efforts. An aide said he was in Giridih on a personal visit.
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The officials of the revenue and home departments in Jharkhand said that the state should have got those maps long ago, but Bihar had been stalling the process. Primarily, bearing the burden of pension has been a bone of contention between Bihar and Jharkhand; the latter arguing that it should be asked to bear the burden in proportion to its population, as was done in the case of Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal created along with Jharkhand in 2000.
As per official sources, cadastral (‘cadastre’ being a record of areas, with values and their landholders originally compiled for taxation purposes) survey maps totaling 82,119 and catering to 29,000-odd villages across the state are lying with Bihar.
The Jharkhand government has made at least 10 official requests over the last 16 years. The issue was raised last time at the meeting of Eastern Regional Council in January in Ranchi. Prior to that, the issue was raised in the meeting of same Council in 2015 in Patna.
“The state is going fast on developing digitised land records under the National Land Records Modernisation Programme. But, non-availability of 82,119 maps means that we can’t just start the basic work in the affected villages. Moreover, in these villages, due to lack of maps, there are disputes leading to multiple litigation and claims,” said a senior official of the revenue department.
Another official said that Bihar has been stalling the issue primarily on the ground that several issues pertaining to assets and liabilities, post-bifurcation, were to be sorted out. “But, Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal have got these maps long ago,” he said.
A top official of the home department explained that whenever a map in these areas became necessary, the government has to get a certified photocopy from Bihar. “The payment in this regard is also made. But, the issue is that Bihar does not have use of original maps of revenue villages that are now part of Jharkhand,” he said.