Technology can help curb land frauds

Sunil Pradhan
Friday, 8 February 2019

Following the claims made by Rokade, a case was lodged against the government official for cheating and forgery. It was also found by the police that important documents in the case were missing. 

PUNE: Officials of the Samarth police station have unearthed a land scam in which over 60 acres of government land was sold to 44 persons. The accused persons involve officials of the Revenue Department. Following the scam, Samarth police arrested Nayab Tehsildar Geetanjali Garad on Wednesday evening. Officials of Samarth police found that some government officials along with Garad allegedly carried out illegal transfer of government land to project-affected farmers who sold the land to builders, who in turn sold the land to other people. The scam came to light after some project-affected farmers approached the Shirur police.

In another case, Sunil Rokade (30), a project-affected person of Chas Kaman project approached the Khed police, alleging that a government official modified the government orders and transfered land to another person instead of Rokade.

Following the claims made by Rokade, a case was lodged against the government official for cheating and forgery. It was also found by the police that important documents in the case were missing. 

These cases clearly reflect the involvement of government officials in land fraud cases. While the government is taking small measures to avoid such cases, experts from technology field say  technology should be used for land registry and land dealings which can prevent such types of fraud. The government is in the process of digitisation of 7/12 extracts for the last few years and is yet to complete the process. However, experts say mere digitisation of land documents would not help in protecting people from land scams. Cyber expert Pankajj Ghode, Founder and Chairman of Global Blockchain Foundation, said that blockchain is the ultimate solution to protect farmers from land frauds. “The whole history of land registry and land transactions can be taken on blockchain. Each of these blocks are secured and bound to each other using cryptography. Similarly with blockchain the digital files are tamper-proof. The blockchain solution will help increase traceability and everything will be recorded in digital format,” added Ghode.

Another cyber expert Anil Raj of Cybervault Security Solutions Private Limited said land documents should be in encrypted format so that they are not tampered with. 

“Similarly, we need databases of all land records. We also need authentication methods for land documents, which can be through digital signatures and other ways. Analytics should also be used on a large scale. Many land scam cases are associated with history sheeters and so people should be alert about such people involved in multiple land scam cases,” added Raj.

FACTS
While the Pune district has over 14 lakh 7/12 extracts, the State has around 2 crore. Every year, the State Revenue Department gets around 20 lakh applications for land ownership records.

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