Puzzling land title system behind Adarsh scam: Jaipal Reddy

The minister said there is need for a comprehensive law for guaranteed land titles.

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of Adarsh
scam, the Union government Saturday blamed the complex land title
system for increasing number of such cases and favoured urgent
reforms in the sector to make it transparent and effective.

"The recent scandal relating to Adarsh housing society is
a classic example. Nobody knows to whom the land belongs,"
Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy said here at a
seminar on Guaranteed Land and Property Certification system.

He said, "Can there be a more sorry example of land
titling. I am not talking of misuse by the people belonging to
every important walks of life -- politicians, defence forces,
bureaucrats...I am not referring to the scandal part of the
thing. Today nobody knows to whom the property belongs."

The seminar was organised to discuss ways for introducing
property certification system in the country.

He said the system is being exploited by people like
Haji Mastan (land mafia) and there is a nexus between
politicians and officials.

"Thanks to the problem of urban land titling, we have
Haji Mastans (land mafia) in every towns. Most of the
politicians, policemen, officials... are hand in glove when it
comes to urban land," Reddy said, adding, "In the last 10 years, mining land and urban land have become best source of
money making. It is difficult to find a non-disputed land."

He said, "Land titling is a ticklish question not only in
urban area, but also in rural areas. Even in pre-Independent
India it took decades to settle the land suit and that
situation remains (till today)."

Since urbanisation is growing apace it is difficult to
distinguish rural and urban land, he said.

Referring Nandigram, the minister said there is need for
a comprehensive law for guaranteed land titles. "We saw the
problem in Nandigram where land owners were in Kolkata and
somebody else was the tenant. Today no body knows to whom the
property belongs. In my view, land titles pose most legal
puzzle to our system."

Hoping that there will be a way forward, he said, "The
subject is with the state government and not with the Centre.
Let us find a solution. Let us take a few small steps."

The Centre has already set up a working group and is
developing a model land title for the states. The model will
be provided to the state so that they can adopt a modern,
effective and transparent land title certification system,
Urban Development Secretary Navin Kumar said.


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