KOCHI: Though land transfers in Ernakulam district are all set to go online from August 1 with 54 more villages digitising their land records, rampant bribery and corruption continue to plague the system, pushing people to take extreme measures.
A recent incident in Perumbavoor exposed the apathy of revenue officers towards the public. Laila Kabir, 29, attempted suicide last October after the officers marked her land as ‘poramboke’ in the survey. Laila said the village officer and a surveyor demanded Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh respectively for correcting and granting the title deed in her name. Unable to pay the bribe, she attempted the extreme step. She was also forced to go around offices to get the title deed which she lost after her father died in 1988.
Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla’s intervention finally helped her obtain the deed.
In another incident, a widow was forced to pay Rs 2,000 for speeding up the transfer of registration of her property. Later, following her complaint, Ayyampuzha village officer Sudheer R was arrested by the VACB.
“Though Kochi is emerging as a smart city, it is yet to get a relief from corruption,” said Prathapan, an RTI activist. “In some villages, officers have fixed their fees for issuing certificates and providing other services. The officers also appoint mediators for collecting bribes. People have to suffer a lot in Poonithura, Edappally, Nadama and Kumbalam village offices.”
“We are taking every step to implement e-governance in the district,” said Safirulla. “As part of this, we are all set to make the transfer of title deed online from August 1. Soon the public can pay taxes online.”