ISLAMABAD, Nov 13: In a bid to break the influence of patwaris, who were trying to create hindrance in the computerisation of land record in Islamabad, the capital administration has repatriated 11 of them to their original postings in Punjab.

Besides, the local administration also terminated the services of one local patwari and registered a corruption case against another.

The 11 patwaris sent back to Punjab were working in the capital city on deputation.

The action was initiated after a collective move by the 44 patwaris of Islamabad to resist the computerisation process of the land record in the federal capital.

“The patwaris were threatening to go on a strike and freeze all the activities,’ said an official of the revenue department.

“They had several meetings in the Bharakahu revenue centre and asked the senior officials of the ICT administration to stop the reform process.”

However, the deputy commissioner Islamabad, Amer Ahmed Ali, took the action and in the first phase repatriated 11 patwaris back to Punjab.

“Our target is to get all the land record computerised and make it public through an online system,” said the DC.

However, legal experts are studying the options if there were any impediments in floating the land data online. “The main issue could be that we cannot disclose the land ownership of others,” he added.

So far, the ICT administration has been able to computerise the record of 12 out of the 100 mauza in Islamabad.

The ICT administration started issuing computerised fard (land documents) for Mauza Rehra and Jandala in August 2013 but could not expand the service to other areas due to the resistance by the patwaris.

The computerisation of the land record does not allow the patwaris to manipulate the data.

“There were two types of corruption in this and now they have been plugged,” said Mr Ali.

The first corruption by the patwaris was to hide certain piece of land owned by ordinary persons. But after digitisation, all the land owned by a citizen would appear on the computer screen as the CNIC number is fed into the system.

The second and the most common form of corruption by the patwaris was that they delayed the issuance of the fard or details of any piece of land by remaining absent from their offices in order to get bribe.

“But now it has been made mandatory that the patwaris will have to be present at the revenue centres,” said an official of the revenue department.

“A biometric attendance system has been placed at the Bharakahu revenue centre and this was the main point the patwaris did not like.”

However, the new computerised fard will not be a legal document as long as the required amendments are not made to the relevant law.

“The necessary amendments to the Land Revenue Act are likely to be approved by the parliament by January 2014. Till that time, we are issuing both the computerised and manual fard,” the deputy commissioner told Dawn.

Besides, the officials are waiting for the PC-1 of the project worth Rs100 million to be approved which will allow the hiring of IT experts so that the computerisation process could be completed.

It is expected that the uploading land ownership data of all 100 mauza will be completed by April 2014 subject to the approval of the PC-1 and release of the funds.

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