THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After Devikulam Sub-Collector Sriram Venkitaraman was shunted out from his post for standing his ground against encroachers, the Revenue Department is for giving more powers to middle-level officers - tahsildars and deputy tahsildars - to ensure collective responsibility among revenue officers in evicting all encroachers and protecting public lands.
The government has already directed tahsildars and deputy tahlsidars to take proactive steps to protect government land and to take immediate action against encroachments. If needed, more powers will be delegated to these officers, highly placed sources in the Revenue Department said. Besides, these officers will be given more administrative freedom. All the officers will have collective responsibility and no officer in his individual capacity can be made a target once the powers are delegated, the sources said.
Once the middle-level officers are vested with more power and all works integrated, revenue officers said it will help the government to retrieve all lands under illegal possession. Moreover, even if an officer is shifted from his post under political pressure (as was purportedly the case with Venkitaraman), it will not affect the anti-encroachment drive, they said. The concept envisages the officers working as a team to safeguard public lands. Though all the revenue officers have powers vested in them under the land rules, no one is said to be taking any initiative.
With collective responsibility, no officer can shirk his duty. Moreover, the Revenue Department has issued a warning saying the officers, including village officers, will face punitive action if they are found to be colluding with encroachers or display any lackadaisical attitude in evicting encroachers.
Henceforth, the Land Revenue Commissioner will be entrusted with the task of strictly monitoring the department’s functioning. All the activities will be integrated under the Collectors and Sub-Collectors.