Committee formed to track down bogus entries in record of rights

Dawn

THATTA: A four-member committee has been formed to track down 478 “suspicious and bogus” entries inserted into record of rights for 57 of the total 65 dehs of Thatta taluka and restore the land ownership to legitimate khatedars (landholders), official sources disclosed to Dawn on Monday.
The committee that comprised deputy director and assistant director of Board of Revenue (BoR) Sindh, assistant commissioner of Thatta taluka (members) and secretary of Sindh Land Commission of BoR (chairman) suggested proper examination of the record and passage of appropriate orders in accordance with law, said the sources.
Enraged mobs had burnt down almost entire revenue record kept in a number of taluka offices in Thatta and Sujawal in the wake of assassination of Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto on Dec 27, 2007, compounding problems for khatedars.
The Sindh BoR immediately authorised assistant commissioners concerned to reconstruct the record of rights but unfortunately, the officials concerned intentionally and unintentionally made chronic mistakes in the reconstruction process mostly because of excessive political intervention and their own vested interests, forcing many khatedars to take their cases to court for redressal of grievances.
Meanwhile, the sources said, most tapedars who had the old records on their fingertips took advantage of the situation and allegedly began tampering with the remaining available record whose duplicate copies they would often keep with them to demand the highest price for the precious information required by claimants.
The sources said that the tapedars in connivance with then additional deputy commissioner of Thatta, who was behind bars nowadays in a NAB reference, forged signatures of other revenue officials and cheated several poor khatedars out of their money on the pretext of having their record of rights reconstructed.
Meanwhile, the apex court took a suo motu notice of the situation and ordered constitution of a committee to scrutinise suspicious entries in the record of rights by reconciling them with the master copy of records of 1985-86, and reconstruct the record in favour of genuine khatedar after recommendation and approval of the inquiry officer.

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