Thiruvananthapuram: The Revenue Department has issued guidelines for resolving complaints of obstruction in land mutation in cases where there is an increase in area in the resurvey records.
According to the guidelines, the land tehsildar can decide on cases where the area difference is not more than 5 per cent and the collector in cases where it is more than 5 per cent.
For example, if it is found that an individual owns 50 cents of land as per the deed and the area has increased by 2.5 cents (5%) after the resurvey, the land tehsildar will resolve such complaints. In cases where the difference is more than 2.5 cents (more than 5 per cent), it is up to the collector concerned to decide.
In case of an increase in private land after the resurvey, action should be taken after ascertaining that the area and extent of any adjoining wasteland (poramboke) and other government lands have not decreased.
The order will pave the way for resolving a large part of the more than 6 lakh complaints that have been pending for years before the additional tehsildars of various taluk offices in the state.
On September 18, 1991, the Revenue Board (Survey) secretary had issued a circular stating that only the area in the resurvey records should be used as the basis for land mutation.
The circular also stated that the area to be mutated should be determined on the basis of the resurvey documents and the survey documents prepared in connection with that.
However, there was an increase in complaints after revenue officials obstructed land mutation due to misinterpretation of some sections of the Kerala Survey and Boundaries Act in connection with cases where the difference in the area of land in a person’s possession exceeded the permissible limit in records prepared following the resurvey.
Why the difference
During the monarchy and the British rule, land was measured under the old system known as kol kanakku and chankala alavu (using chains). Such measurements had their drawbacks as they lacked consistency.
The resurvey and the use of modern measurement tools threw up cases of people found to be in possession of the land that was a little less or more than what was originally intended.
In the past, those who got extra land were allowed to pay extra land tax, but later revenue officials did not allow this. The opinion of the survey department was that the government should either take over the extra land or collect its price from the owner.
However, the Land Revenue Commissionerate assessed that the acquisition of land owned by private individuals would lead to legal issues and there were huge differences in the accuracy of measurement as per the old and modern systems.
It is in recognition of this problem that the revenue department issued the order that clarifies the Survey and Boundary Rules and the circular issued in 1991.