Incomplete digitisation of land records deprives Kerala coffers of tax worth crores

Thiruvananthapuram: Even as the Kerala government gained much headway with the digitisation of land records in the last few years, a whopping 53.03 lakh revenue record of property (thandeperu) have not been subjected to one-time verification on the Revenue department's online system meant for registering details of landowners. This was detected in the inspection carried out by the Land Revenue Commissionerate.

Of the 1,664 village offices across the state, one- time verification of thandaperu is yet to be carried out in 1,658 offices which are linked with the online system.

Revenue Minister K Rajan's home district Thrissur has the maximum number of villages where this mandatory verification is yet to be completed. Documents are to be verified and approved in 255 village offices here.

Across the state hundreds of people are finding it difficult to remit land tax because the thandaperu has not been subjected to one-time verification on the Revenue Land Information System (ReLIS) -- a web application for the effective management of land records in the state by integrating the records of the Registration and Survey departments. As a result, the government is losing land revenue worth crores of rupees.

Ordeal at village offices
Public arriving to pay land tax at the village office are now being turned back by the staff owing to the non-verification of thandaperu. Even though one can visit the office and remit the land tax directly, officials are discouraging people.

Land tax receipt is not being given in writing in many offices. One may get the printout of land tax receipt if it is paid via the Revenue department's website:

For getting the receipt one needs to upload and update details of the land online. Even though the authorities claim that many village offices have turned online, the system is yet to be up and running in many places.

Even if the document is updated, the revenue officer needs to carry out one-time verification of the details before the tax is remitted first time. This process is to ensure that data entry details, thandaperu register and the land tax remitted are properly cross-checked. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic even these tasks are not being carried out promptly in many village offices.

It was in 2015 that the village offices started moving the revenue details to the online system. The verification process which was to be completed in a year is still continuing.

What is a thandaperu
Thandaperu is the revenue record which is registered in the village office records or registry of assigned land. Each village office has a register in which the thandaperu is recorded.

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