CHENNAI: Availing land-related services at taluk offices is set to get easier, as Village Administrative Officers (VAOs) are to be deployed to survey land for transferring of pattas involving subdivisions. This will end the two-centuries-old practice of surveyors assessing land for patta transfers, and reduce delays and corruption at taluk offices.
Besides, the administrative reform is expected to speed up pending land survey work for major projects worth several hundred crore rupees.
A Government Order (GO) empowering VAOs to conduct land surveys was originally passed on March 26, 2020. Last week, the revenue department started training about 11,000 VAOs across the State to implement the GO after the Madras High Court on April 28 dismissed a petition against the GO from the TN Survey Officers Union.
S Nagarajan, Commissioner of Land Administration, said, “Villages that got five patta-transfer applications per month in 2020 will be earmarked for VAOs. In addition, villages in faraway places that get one or two applications will be assigned to VAOs.”
As per official data, taluk offices receive close to 1.5 lakh patta-transfer applications per month, of which 1.2 lakh are disposed of. As of April, about 7.5 lakh patta-transfer requests are pending across the State.
Patta transfer involving sub divisions can be done based on the report from the field surveyor. Subdivision of land means dividing a land parcel into two or three pieces with new survey numbers.
The surveyor conducts an assessment after getting a statement from the VAO. The field map demarcating boundaries for the divided land parcel is prepared by the surveyor and verified by the firka surveyor at the taluk office, based on which a patta is transferred.
‘50% of surveyor, assistant posts remaining vacant’
Although the revenue department’s guidelines mandate that patta requests be cleared within 30 days, it takes three to six months, mainly due to a shortage of land surveyors.
The sanctioned combined strength of field and firka surveyors and field assistants is 3,434. But nearly 50% of the posts are vacant, said officials, adding that the strength of surveyors hasn’t been determined since 1989.
A VAO from Tiruvallur district said, “The qualification for both VAO and surveyor is SSLC, and the decision will immensely benefit the public. During the training, we were told that our land survey report will be overviewed by a firka surveyor and the chance of errors is slim.”
About 7.5 lakh requests pending across TN
Every month, taluk offices receive an average of 1.5 lakh patta-transfer applications, of which 1.2 lakh are disposed of, as per official data. As of April, about 7.5 lakh patta-transfer requests are pending in the State