GUJRAT: Operational hitches and a lack of orientation among the public with regard to the recently-launched E-registration system of property deeds has resulted in an alarming decline in the number of property transactions at the registration branches in the district for the last couple of days, causing revenue losses.
Official sources say the transactions of registration deeds had been reduced by 50 to 75 percent in the last 2 days, causing a loss to the revenue generation for the provincial as well as federal governments.
As per the directions of the Punjab Board of Revenue (BoR) and Punjab Land Record Authority (PLRA), the registration branches of the land revenue department in the districts across Punjab had been stopped from transactions of property registration deeds through the previous manual system after May 31 the last as the people had been asked to adopt the E-registration system by June 1, 2023.
However, the applicants for such transactions say those involved in preparation of registration deeds, such as stamp vendors, Vaseeqa Navees (writers of the content), as well as the concerned staffers, have not been properly trained or are not getting used to the new method, and the local administrations across Gujranwala and Gujrat regions are under immense pressure to allow the manual property deeds, parallel to the E-registration, until June 30.
DCs seek resumption of manual system for the time being
A day-long training workshop for the land revenue department officials and private trainers had been organised at the divisional level across the province last month, prior to the launch of new system, under which people can also get their deeds registered to avoid exploitation at the hands on revenue officials and others.
Usually, the ratio of property transactions would increase by almost 200 percent in June, which is the last month of fiscal year as from July 1 every year the rates of properties as well as the ratio of taxes often increases.
So, in a bid to avoid the enhanced expenditures people rush to the registration branches, increasing the revenue generation.
However, this year the case was different, say an official, adding that used to be around 50 registration deeds transactions in Gujrat tehsil’s registration branch in these days, but in the last two days only 15 deeds were processed.
Similarly, the ratio has also alarmingly decreased in Kharian, Wazirabad and Sambrial tehsils of the region, official sources say.
It is learnt that the deputy commissioners in the region have informed the higher authorities of the situation and recommended resumption of the processing of registration deeds both manually and digitally until June 30. It is being expected that the DCs request may be allowed from Monday or Tuesday to avoid the loss to national exchequer.
A senior official says the PLRA’s online portal for the E-registration of the deeds had a number of processing hitches. For example, he says, the portal did not have an option to register the power of attorney sent from abroad, as the system required the online photographs of both the buyer and the seller of a property.
Similarly, he says there was also no option in the new system to appoint a local commission to record the statement of a person who was in prison or could not visit the registration branch for being physically ill or was too old to appear for the property transaction.
However, he says that in the E-registration system no document could not be processed until the deposit of all the government dues and taxes, unlike the manual system where people would often evade taxes for the time being.
He says once the people will get familiar with the new system, things will become smooth, adding that it was not only a time-saving method, but also provides protection against fraud and exploitation by officials.
Moreover, he says, the buyer instantly gets the document, while previously it would take at least two to three weeks to get the original documents back from the branch. In the new system, the mutation gets included in the land record automatically, saving people from the hassle of repeatedly visiting the Patwari’s office for the purpose.
Another official claims the PLRA has already rectified some of the shortcomings in the system highlighted earlier, while the remaining hitches will also be removed soon.
Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2023