The Assam government plans to grant land rights through self-certification to indigenous people who have settled on the land as a village settler for three generations but have no registered ownership, senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.
“This whole process refers to the indigenous people who have been living on the land for at least three centuries without any dispute. The land registration will be issued on the basis of self-certification by the local people,” Biswa Sarma said. while launching Mission Boundhara 2.0 in Guwahati.
He said that the headquarters of Mission Basundhar 2 should be given land rights to people who have been living in certain areas for a long time but do not have official records.
“This creates insecurity for the residents of these areas, which can be exploited by others. As the rights and records of government lands in Assam are not clearly defined, there has been systematic encroachment on vacant lands. After a while it becomes difficult to remove the encroachers,” Sarma said.
He added that there is no land record for people who have been living in certain areas for more than a century, they are not able to avail bank loans, they are not able to get income certificates and other important documents.
“If we are able to give land rights to people who do not have records, the government will be able to earn them ₹1500 cr in land revenue per year. There is a need to reform the system, to ensure the local lands and to improve the various taxes,” he said.
Sarma, however, added that those living in ‘char’ areas (sand bars created by river silt) will not be able to avail the benefits of this plan due to environmental reasons. There will be an exception to this rule in Majuli district, the world’s largest island in the Brahmaputra river basin, as it is a “permanent island”.
Verification will be done by officials wherever there is doubt. Land records will not be provided to those in doubt. This center will not find organized encroachers, he said.
“I would request all the indigenous people of Assam to take advantage of this facility provided by Mission Basundhara 2.0. Because if they do not get their land records now, they may face eviction later,” Sarma added.
The first phase of Mission Baundhara, a government plan to address all kinds of land issues, was launched in October, 2021 and continued until May, 2022 and nearly 600,000 applicants have benefited from the benefits.
Sarma asked the district deputy commissioners to settle all the ryot lands across Assam as soon as possible as part of Mission Basundhara 2. There are around 360,000 ryot holders across Assam. These lands are traditionally held by farmers who have been farming for many years but have no ownership rights.
He also directed the district officials to convert the annual land patta (land registration established for one year) into periodic patta. While an annual patta allows a person to own land which he cannot sell until it is converted into an annual patta.
Land revenue will soon be online in all parts of the state and land owners will be able to pay taxes without visiting government offices. People will soon be able to buy income certificates online instead of hard copies and property transfer will also be done online.