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Official says 6 months needed to update land records

Even as civic activists have sought a police complaint against the district rehabilitation officer...

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
May 26, 2010 4:30:02 am

After rap from Information Commissioner ,district rehabilitation officer Prashant Shelkhe claims department is understaffed,has peons and clerks as record keepers

Even as civic activists have sought a police complaint against the district rehabilitation officer(DRO) for not updating land and rehabilitation records,the DRO said he would need at least six months to complete the job.

Citing staff crunch as the reason,the DRO’s office said the record room is currently looked after by clerks and peons in the absence of record-keepers.

“The land records are very much in place,but they have not been updated over the years. We will need at least six months to put things in order,” said district rehabilitation officer Prashant Shelkhe,who had taken charge of the office in September last year.

The DRO’s response has come after State Information Commissioner Vijay Kuvlekar while delivering a judgement earlier this month passed severe strictures against the officer for not making land records and rehabilitation records available on public demand. The State Information Commission had asked the district collector to launch an investigation into the functioning of the District Rehabilitation Office,calling it a serious lapse. The SIC had given May 10 as the deadline for the district collector to submit his report.

However,district collector Chandrakant Dalvi had said they would need over two months to get the land records updated.

On Tuesday,DRO Shelkhe said land records were in disarray and his department would require at least six months to restore a semblance of sanity in the record room. “We are severely hampered by staff crunch. From 74 employees,our department’s strength over the years has come down to a mere 14. Peons and clerks are functioning as record keepers. They are as many as 25 rehabilitation projects whose records need to be updated,” he said.

Conceding that some rehabilitation records in one case of dam-affected people have gone missing,Shelkhe said they have received a report from the sub-divisional officer regarding missing rehabilitation records in over 100 cases.

“Yes,some records are missing,but most of them are in place. I am yet to completely see the report…” he said. He,however,said land record and rehabilitation updation has begun after the SIC’s directives.

SIC Kuvlekar said the issue was “very serious” and was expecting the collectorate to take initiative in the matter.

“Six months is too long a period. I may allow them the permission provided they promise to update the entire records and make them available for public scrutiny whenever demanded,” he said.

“But nobody from the collectorate has approached me so far. First,I need to find out whether they have really taken up the work on priority,” he said.

Right To Information(RTI) acivist Vijay Kumbhar said only a police complaint would move the collectorate. “Citizens and those affected by land acquisition have every right to know as to what happened to their promised compensation. Many of the affected do not know they were supposed to get land as compensation. For years,they remained ignorant and then the land have passed over to someone else.” Kumbhar said it needed to be investigated as to who has claimed the land and why it has not gone to the rightful claimant.

“The SIC should not stop at mere directives,he should file a police complaint which will send out a strong signal to collectorates across the state as the problem is common all over,” he said.

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