Kerala government may explore possibility of common order for land conversion

The government may consider the conversion of land, not included in the data bank and below the 25 cent measure, for conversion through a joint order.

The suggestion was put forward by the Joint Council of State Service Organisations, which claimed that under a joint order it would be possible to settle land conversion claims in less than a week, whereas it now takes much more time.

The database was published through the joint efforts of the Ministries of Revenue and Agriculture. It is an authoritative document that can be relied upon for government action.

And, it must now be possible to issue a joint order for lands that can be converted without payment of a fee and those below the 25 cent measure, a member of the joint council office said.

The joint council said applications could be received for an additional five hectares and would require a large number of government employees to sort them out.

Instead, if a common command is issued, claims can be settled without delay and without overloading the already overburdened revenue department.

Joint council sources said the suggestion had been submitted to the government, which was considering it. The suggestion comes even as the revenue department plans to deploy more staff to handle land conversion applications.

The inordinate delay and alleged exploitation of applicants by intermediaries and officials was highlighted by the recent suicide of a fisherman, faced with a huge backlog in converting his small plot of land.

District Collector Jaffar Malik ordered the formation of a nine-member panel under the direction of the Fort Kochi Sub-collector to study issues related to the processing of land conversion applications. The committee is expected to submit its report this week.

The District Collector has given instructions to the tax department to treat applications on a war footing and to behave well with applicants. Although the tax collector said there was a shortage of labor in the revenue offices, that should not be an excuse to misbehave with claimants.

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