Property title project nipped in the bud
The Survey, Settlement & Land Records, an arm of the revenue department had taken up a crucial project of maintaining urban property ownership records (UPOR), making it a mandatory requirement in property transactions, starting off with Shivamogga...
The revenue department had taken up the project on a pilot basis in Shivamogga and Mangaluru cities, where the government made UPOR a critical requirement in property transactions.
The Survey, Settlement & Land Records, an arm of the revenue department, set the ball rolling on this crucial reform seven years ago in a bid to clean up property records and digitise them so that there is little or no scope for fraud and encroachment of government land. If implemented well, it would also bring down civil litigations as most of them are related to title.
The project involved surveying and mapping government and private properties in urban areas, verifying documents, hearing objections and issuing UPOR cards to property owners with guarantee of land ownership. Since land ownership records in India are presumptive in nature, the government had said UPOR could become the only conclusive document of ownership.
But in a U-turn, the revenue department has gone back in time by complying with chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s letter advising it to make UPOR optional in property transactions. The apparent reason: technical issues in issuing UPOR cards and resistance from the public. ET has reviewed the CM’s letter.
The card was made compulsory in the CM’s home district of Shivamogga about four years ago and recently in Mangaluru. Bengaluru was next on the revenue department’s list.
Many see the government’s decision as a surrender to the real estate lobby. An official in the government feared that relaxing the UPOR requirements may help fraudsters in property deals.
Officials have surveyed 1,00,998 properties and generated 57,337 property cards in Shivamogga, and surveyed 1,53,466 properties and generated about 50,000 cards in Mangaluru.
The department’s experience in implementing the project over the last eight years, officials say, has shown them that people will apply for the property card (by paying a fee of up to Rs 1,200) only if the card is made compulsory. “Making it optional means no one will produce documents to generate UPOR cards,” the official quoted above said. “It is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
However, a senior official in the CM’s office said they had a genuine reason to decide the way they did. “There was an inordinate delay in overall land transactions in Shivamogga city due to the property cards issue.
The private agency which is in charge of issuing cards was taking months to issue cards,” he said. The revenue department officials, however, insist they would ensure cards are issued in two days if the papers are in order.