Patna, Oct. 2: Jharkhand’s legitimate grouse against Bihar for not handing over land maps is mired in a number of other niggling issues, primarily division of assets and liabilities between the two states pending since the bifurcation of 2000, and there exists no quick-fix solution to a problem that has turned even more complex with time.
On the record, Bihar is unwilling to spell out clear cut reasons for the delay in handing over 82,000 land maps of 32,615 villages, but promises to look into it.
“We have received a request from the Jharkhand government (for handing over land maps). The proposal is under consideration before the government,” C. Ashokvardhan, principal secretary of revenue and land reforms department, told The Telegraph.
But sources in his department pointed out that so far, whenever a deputy commissioner from Jharkhand had sought land records for a particular village, they have helped out with digital copies of maps.
Hence, their younger neighbour was making too much of the problem.
They were referring to Jharkhand land reforms and revenue minister Mathura Prasad Mahto’s statement in Delhi during a ministerial conference on land records that its repeated requests to Bihar on missing land maps had gone unheeded for 12 years.
In the absence of land maps, Mahto noted, Jharkhand was unable to digitise land records under the Centre’s National Land Record Modernisation Programme that funds such efforts, including conducting fresh land surveys using Global Positioning System (GPS), aerial photography and satellite imagery.
Bihar government sources maintained that here were several issues that needed to be dealt with together with the question of land maps. Home and finance departments were looking into all the issues that stem from incomplete division of assets and liabilities between the two states after the bifurcation, explained a senior Bihar government official.
“There are more than 18-20 such issues. For example, Jharkhand government needs to pay Bihar around Rs 950 crore against pension payments,” he told The Telegraph.
“Also, Jharkhand is laying a claim on either one of Bihar Niwas and Bihar Bhawan — both in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri area — cadre division, full and final division of assets and liabilities. In the case of pensions, as per the clauses/provisions of bifurcation, Jharkhand was supposed to shell out one-third of the dues,” the official added.
The issue of land maps, therefore, could not be resolved in isolation, the senior Bihar government official maintained.
“We have given them the printouts of all land maps when needed. Deputy commissioners of Jharkhand have requested us for maps and we have supplied them with the printouts of digitised maps that are as good as originals,” he claimed.
Bihar believes Jharkhand’s repeated complaints were the state’s way of camouflaging its failure to make any headway on digitisation of land records.
So, while the Bihar government received praise from the Union minister for its success in the endeavour, Jharkhand did not.
“Since they (Jharkhand officials) did not have any sound reason for the slow progress of the land record modernisation programme, they passed the buck on to the Bihar government, alleging non-cooperation,” he added.
82,000 land maps
of 32,615 villages
- Jharkhand: Our
- Bihar: Digital copies handed over when sought