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Collectors demand land revenue hike

Guwahati, June 19: Mouzadars of Assam today demanded that Dispur revise the land revenue it had fixed 17 years back.

Mouzadars are in charge of collecting land revenue in the Brahmaputra valley. In Barak valley, land revenue is collected by tehsildars. Tehsildari and mouzadari systems were introduced in Assam by the British in 1903.

At present, the state has 315 mouzadars.

The All Assam Mouzadars’ Association told reporters here that land revenue in the state, barring Kamrup (metro), is very low and a revision would not only strengthen the government’s exchequer but also give financial relief to mouzadars.

Land revenue is Rs 5 a bigha per year in Assam, barring Kamrup (metro) where it varies from Rs 94 to Rs 10,000 depending on locations and use of land. “Barring Kamrup (metro), the amount of land revenue is so low that people do not feel the urge to pay it,” joint general secretary of the association, Padmadhar Dutta, said.

A mouzadar gets 35 per cent of the total revenue he collects from his mouza and deposits the rest to the state exchequer. The government does not pay him any salary but gives him an an annual financial assistance of Rs 12,000 either to construct an office or repair an existing one. However, a tehsildar receives a salary from the government.

“Even a pumpkin costs Rs 50 to Rs 60 nowadays. People cultivate agriculture products worth several thousand rupees on one bigha of land. But the land revenue is Rs 5 only for a bigha,” Dutta said.

According to the association, a mouzadar’s limit of collecting revenue varies from Rs 2 to 3 lakh. Even if one of them collects Rs 3 lakh in a year, one will get Rs 1,05,000 for him which means a mouzadar’s maximum monthly income is Rs 8,750, including the expenses of his assistants.

On the other hand, the amount is much higher in Kamrup (metro).

The association demanded that the government either introduce a revenue system similar to that in Kamrup (metro) but with a maximum amount of Rs 94 (as against Rs 10,000 in Kamrup metro) or give the facilities of a government employee to mouzadars.

The association in May this year had submitted a memorandum to chief minister Tarun Gogoi with their demands, including increase of land revenue but to no avail.

The mouzadars also requested the government to conduct a land survey which has not been done since 1973.