Survey of 'topo' land is on in Bihar: Revenue and Land Reforms minister
Unsurveyed lands in Bihar are called topo lands and are mostly situated on the banks of rivers like the Ganga and Koshi that shift their courses every few decades, creating new land parcels.Bihar Revenue and Land Reforms minister Alok Kumar told PTI that Instructions have been issued to officials to expedite the ongoing special survey and settlement of lands across the state and complete the task by December 2024.
Survey of 'topo' land is on in Bihar and the exercise is part of the ongoing special study for updating the land records in the state, a minister said. Unsurveyed lands in Bihar are called 'topo' lands and are mostly situated on the banks of rivers like the Ganga and Koshi that shift their courses every few decades, creating new land parcels.
Bihar Revenue and Land Reforms minister Alok Kumar told PTI that ''Instructions have been issued to officials to expedite the ongoing special survey and settlement of lands across the state and complete the task by December 2024. The exercise also includes survey of unsurveyed or 'topo' land in the state. It means topo lands are also being surveyed in the state. In certain districts the exercise is on the verge of completion.'' When the exercise is completed, it will certainly reduce the cases of land disputes in the state, the minister said, adding at the same time government will also be in a position to take decision about topo lands. Earlier, an impression was created that survey of topo lands in the state is not part of the ongoing exercise.
According to an estimate the proportion of unsurveyed land in Bihar is almost 20 per cent of its area. The land surveys in Bihar were carried out by the British between 1905 and 1915 and left out lands that subsequently emerged from the river. Unsurveyed lands in Bihar are called 'topo' lands and are mostly situated on the banks of the Ganga and Koshi. In 1959, the Bihar government had decided to carry out another land survey, but that too could not be completed.
The minister further told PTI, ''As per the existing law, all unsurveyed lands in the state belong to the government. No individual can claim ownership over unsurveyed land. But we will soon announce a policy in this regard''. Topo land is land on which topographic survey has not been carried out.
Reacting to this, Ajay Kumar, CPI(M), MLA, told PTI, ''It's good that topo land survey is going on. Why is the government waiting for completion of the ongoing special survey, including survey of the topo lands? The state government must give ownership rights to farmers and poor who have been living or carrying out agricultural activities on the topo lands in districts such as Khagari, Lakhisarai, Saran, Samastipur and other districts for the last several decades. They have also been paying taxes for the land to the concerned department for the last several years''.
There are provisions in the Bihar Tenancy Act that allows an individual living on the unsurveyed land and also paid taxes to the government for more than 12 years, is entitled to get ownership on the same land, he claimed.
Sandeep Saurav, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation's MLA from Paliganj assembly seat, who raised the issue of 'topo land' several times in the assembly, told PTI, ''The department concerned has been giving us assurances about the survey of topo land in the state for the last several years, but nothing is happening on the ground.'' The government must expedite the process or find-out other ways out to give the ownership right over such lands to economically backward people who have been living on topo lands in the state for the last several decades. The Mahagathbandhan government must take initiative in this regard, he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)