Thiruvananthapuram: Divisional Revenue Offices (RDOs) in Kerala are seeing an increase in the number of applications submitted for land conversion.
The monthly increase has been in the tens of thousands since the revenue department launched the online facility to request land conversion.
Department of Revenue authorities said 78,000 applications were pending before the 27 RDOs in Kerala. They said the increase in demands was for the conversion of agricultural land that had already been turned into dry or residential land years ago.
RDOs received 70,000 requests until last month, which increased by 8,000 more this month.
When paying property tax, the online facility gives details like the property registration number (thandaper), tax amount, area and classification, whether land dry or paddy fields. Officials said landowners, after realizing their property had been classified as rice paddy or agricultural land, could apply for a conversion in large numbers.
Officials, dismayed by the surge in requests, said most of the requests were for land registered as paddy fields in the Basic Tax Register (BTR), but not included in the database or in the list of notified lands.
Exemption from fees
One of the reasons for the surge in land conversion requests is the concession of royalties authorized by the state government.
The government issued an order on February 25 this year, granting a fee waiver to convert up to 25 cents of land not included in the database.
Prior to the issuance of the order, as many as 40,000 land conversion applications were pending before the RDOs. He has now touched 78,000.
The RDO would authorize the conversion after setting a fair price for land over 25 cents, and collecting 10% of the fair price as a royalty.
Special drive on October 18
Meanwhile, the revenue department would launch a special campaign on October 18 to clear pending land conversion requests. Additional officials would be assigned to RDOs for the reader, which would be deployed first to Alappuzha.
What the law says
The land included in the database could only be converted for the construction of residential buildings, in accordance with the provisions of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008. Under this Act, land not exceeding 10 cents in panchayats and five hundred in company boundaries could be salvaged for habitation.
Permission to claim land would be provided by local panchayat and company committees after verifying whether the applicant already owns a house or residential property and owned the land even before 2008. Conversion would be permitted on the basis of village authority. report to the RDO.