Whenever you hear the term called MRO office, Tehasildar office, RDO office or Registration office in Telangana or any part of India, the first thing which strikes the mind of a common man is corruption and harassment. It is a open hard truth which cannot be denied. There might be minuscule percentage of officials at individual levels who might be non corrupt or honest. These offices primarily come under Revenue department and play an important role in the overall money flow at grass root levels. But contrary to that most of these offices are plagued by systematic corruption with huge mismanagement of their services to common man.

The recent killing of a lady Tahasildar or MRO officer by a farmer reiterates and exposes the fact that frustration levels of a common man while dealing with his works in these offices. Digitalization is a mere eye wash in these offices. Work style and work culture follows its own way with systematic level of corruption and harassment by the officials and employees in these offices. Most of the politicians and higher level officials are well aware of these facts but nothing can be done at ground level. Instead they give a statement of condolence message when these kind of horrific incidents happen. There is a huge nexus of corrupt money flow which happens from a junior level clerk to almost the level of Joint collector, DRO or RDO levels. Most of the people who are familiar with the functioning of these offices know that the money collected on daily basis through corruption is shared among the employees and officials internally for a work done as per their rank.

Most of the corrupt practices and illegal land records which have been followed all these years have created a huge pile up of messed land record system in the state. Though the chief minister of the state KCR had initiated a good work of cleansing the land records and correcting the past mistakes. This is not going to happen on ground as most of the civil cases in Telangana are related to litigation and false cases filed for grabbing lands. This had increased over the last two decades due to the rampant real estate growth where in everyone wants a share of the money and cash on the missed opportunity of old sales done.

Main reasons for this mess in Telangana:

  1. Biggest fact in Telangana is that most of the farmers or landowners have sold their lands for lesser prices in between 1970 to 1990's in districts like Rangareddy, Medak and Nalgonda which are adjoining Hyderabad capital area. But during the real estate boom in the late 90's and 2000's & IT sector revolution, the city had spread many fold asking for lands from adjacent districts. This had created skyrocketing prices for the plots and lands in these areas. Many people who had sold earlier have filed false cases in local courts or RDO courts under ROR act for cancellations of pass books. They all deny that they sold the lands which is contrary to the truth but thanks to our courts which takes ages to solve a problem and take action against these false case petitioners. This makes the original buyers go through all the frustration and mental harassment till his records get settled. They also have to attend the courts and go through the legal process for the cases filed by these petty opportunists & litigants.
  2. Taking this situation as an advantage many real estate agents, developers and land grabbers had nixed up with Revenue officials and grabbed open lands or lands under litigation. Based on this land mafia, land settlement and politicians with real estate background had evolved with full support from the revenue officials. They have formed various real estate offices with retired revenue officials in the city whose main work is to find the loopholes in the manual entry system in patta passbooks/ pahanis, old documents from 1940's to 1960's and registration documents which were mostly mismanaged till 2000's. And then file false cases through a person who sold his land earlier or whose ancestors sold these lands earlier. They promise money to these guys and provide lawyers for them and if they get justice in their favour these lands are sold again, the money is shared among all these stakeholders.
  3. In all the above process the person who had invested or purchased land with his hard earned money ends up with many trips/ chakkars to these revenue offices, which instead of providing a solution aggravates his existing problem.
  4. It is an open fact that even the judiciary is sometimes so blind when giving judgments that they totally have no understanding on the ground reality or situation. They are just bookish and so impractical. For example in Telangana many cases are filed under "pasupu kommu" clause in the revenue system. In this loophole an old women with age more than 60 or 70 years is made to file a case against her own brother or her father by her son or grandsons/ descendants. Here the women states the reason that she was given the land by her father at the time of her marriage under "pasupu kommu" as a gift. They will never mention it as dowry for the reason best known to all. They create an old paper and based on it a case is filed in lower courts and RDO offices asking for cancellation of existing ownership. Based on this they collect money as settlement amount from the existing land owner threatening him with a civil suit and criminal suit and remind him of the justice delay system. Many common people fear and fall for the trap and pay some settlement amount to protect their ownership, some try to fight. From so many years the land would have been mutated to many buyers in between but now the guy who holds the property has to go through all the judicial process and face the ire.

Why common man should suffer:

When a land is registered and a common man pays for the registration tax and stamp duty to government. It is the duty of the government to protect his land or property against any judicial cases. But here in India, government is just a mere spectator that a person who had purchased the land or property by paying tax and stamp duty is made to go through judiciary for every small petty case filed and go around these revenue offices for every small thing. Biggest question, why is the government collecting stamp duty and registration tax when they cannot protect a common man's property. Instead many times it is seen that double registrations and multiple registrations are done on the same land lot and people who purchased are made a fool by these offices and officials. Why can't we have a system when the government makes a rule that once the land is registered and passbooks provided to a person they take the sole responsibility of the genuineness of the property. They cannot simply say that we shall just register and collect tax and duty but cannot protect the asset of a common man

Multiple problems, Judicial harassment, attending courts, making multiple trips to revenue offices makes a common man so frustrated that he had developed a unsaid grudge in his inner soul against these offices, officials and employees. Yes its a fact that his fear of losing his hard earned investment or land, mental stress makes him go to an extent of showing the anger in the form of killing those officials. He has only three options either accept the fact, lose land and be calm as nothing happened or Pay as much bribe as he can to protect his ownership or finally succumb to pressure and kill himself or the officials. Many bookish people advise to raise a complaint to superiors against these officials or department employees or approach courts, which are just a futile and useless to a frustrated common man. He ages out and dies till he gets his justice or he gets the justice at the time when he cannot enjoy the fruits of it.

There are many other facts and reasons not mentioned here, but its high time for the government to realize that this cannot be allowed to go on for longer duration. If this continues there shall be a day when people will take law and order into their hands and lose faith in this system completely. Government should take onus and responsibility of revenue records and completely reshuffle the entire revenue department on war footage. At the same time Judiciary should clear the pending cases with fast track dedicated courts to address this land issues in Telangana. The only way out is that Judiciary and government should address this problem in synchronization with zero tolerance against these false case filers, litigants and punish them heavily. Or else these deaths and killings would continue and we shall just mourn, send condolence messages and make a news or atmost have zero hour debate..