Chief Secretary’s orders set the ball rolling

The bulk printouts of village revenue records ordered by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar last month set the ball rolling for today’s decision of government to divest VROs of land records maintenance.

The Chief Secretary issued a circular directing Revenue officials to print six sets of each village record and club them together in the form of a booklet for distribution to various departments at village, tehsil, district and State-levels. The copies must reflect 1 B register containing landholding of farmers in all survey numbers of the village and Form 1 A register which lists out details about land owners survey number wise as per Record of Rights (RoR). The circular led to intense debate in the Revenue Department that the move was aimed to scrap the village revenue administration as voiced by Panchayat Raj Minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao earlier.

The decision of the government was triggered by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s outbursts against the VRO system three years ago which was followed by constitution of a six member committee headed by then Rangareddy Collector Raghunandan Rao to look into its merits and demerits. The government had launched updation of land records in September 2017, a month after the committee was formed. The committee made no such recommendation as to abolish the system, something which Collectors also said the same. At a Collectors conference, the Chief Minister sought the views of the participants when majority of them did not favour abolition.

The Chief Minister raised the issue in all his election speeches in 2018 and 2019 Assembly and Parliament polls respectively. Mr. Rao called up a farmer randomly over phone to hear his opinion and then passed critical remarks against village revenue officers which caused deep anguish among them.

Recently, Mr. Rao expressed his desire to overhaul the revenue administration and, as a follow up, the entries in Dharani, an online portal providing many land revenue and land registration services, were freezed up to August 6.

It was then that the printing of village records was taken up on the directions of the Chief Secretary.

Panchayat Raj Minister Dayakar Rao announced at a meeting in connection with Palle Pragati programme of the government at a village in Jangaon district on June 5 that the withdrawal of village revenue administration was on the anvil. He held the VROs responsible for the names of farmers not entering land records. As a result, they did not get government benefits. As a matter of fact, the village revenue system was a reporting authority on the status of lands in villages.

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