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Those who own land in Punjab would soon be able see its details online, especially in case of partition of inherited land. Alongside making all 11 master plans available online, the state government plans to link these with the revenue records using geographic information system (GIS). The move can put a check on selling of land without recorded ownership and thus minimize litigation.

The Punjab urban development department hopes to achieve this with help from the Punjab remote sensing centre. It will, however, be the proposed revenue commission that will work out the issue of land titling, focusing on legal title instead of presumptive ownership.

The system has been working well in places like Columbus County (North Caroline), where property owners can check the zoning information, due taxes online and even download the relevant data.

However, experts point out that it will be an uphill task due to the involvement of various departments – rural development, local bodies, besides urban development, more so in land falling outside the municipal limits.

“GIS mapping can be used for online details for those seeking change of land use. But in case the government plans to have actual titles of lands, they will have to go through the tedious exercise of revenue department inviting objections in each area,” said a retired revenue official.

Once the online system is put in place, the ‘National Generic Document Registration System’ will be used to link land records so that transactions are recorded automatically in the land records. Similarly, scientific demarcation of land can be achieved in the state with ‘Electronic Total Station’ machines.

Meanwhile, additional chief secretary for urban development Vini Mahajan said in many caces family partitions of land are not reflected in the revenue records. “That is why partition cases take maximum time of revenue courts. The government is looking at ways to minimize the litigation with better systems. With use of cloud computing, state-wide database can be created. The e-CLU pilot project has already been launched,” she added.

Another official said that revenue department was the custodian of crucial land record and apart from use of information technology, record rooms needed to be organized scientifically.

Since most of the old land records are in Persian, the urban development department has put up a proposal for effectively using its staff with the knowledge of the language at the right positions. Some of the land records are so old that if damaged, these would be lost forever. A pilot project for digitizing such documents has been launched in Ludhiana.

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