Govt strives to reach land services at people’s hand: PM
DHAKA, – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has been trying to bring land related services to the hands of people to reduce their sufferings and harassments through digitization of the land management system. “. . . People shouldn’t be harassed; people shouldn’t be subjected to suffering rather we wanted to make arrangements of bringing land services at their hands, keeping in mind that they (people) are not needed to go door-to- door for it,” she said.
She said this while inaugurating Bhumi Bhaban (Land Building) and other development activities as the chief guest. Joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban, the Premier said more digital technology is being used in all areas of land service, including online khatian collection, inheritance calculators and online databases, to ensure “land service at hand”.
“Our goal is to conduct a cent percent e-mutation process and make the land management system of Bangladesh fully digitized,” she said. With Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury in the chair, Land Secretary Md Mustafizur Rahman delivered welcome address. The Ministry of Land organized the opening ceremony of Bhumi Bhaban, Upazila and Union land office buildings, online payment system of land development tax and land data bank in the capital’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium. At the outset of the ceremony, two video documentaries – – one related to land management and reform taken by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as well as digitization of land documents by the present government and another on the newly constructed buildings and development activities — were screened at the function.
The newly built Bhumi Bhaban in the capital’s Tejgaon area is expected to be a “one-stop-service” hub for land related services. To facilitate hassle-free services to the people, all the offices related to land now will be accommodated under the rooftop of this Bhaban. Earlier, on 18 September 2014, during her visit to the Ministry of Land, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed all the concerned departments and agencies to come under one roof and take steps to provide one-stop-service to the people.
To comply with her directives, an initiative was taken to construct a land building complex with a cost of Taka 184 crore to house all the offices and agencies under the Ministry of Land. The Land Reform Board, Land Appeal Board and Land Records and Survey Department under the Ministry of Land were located at different places in Dhaka city.
Now, the newly constructed 13-storey building with two-basement having 32,200 square metre spaces will be the house of these offices to ease the process of land related services. A day-care center has also been set up at the Bhumi Bhaban Complex for the convenience of working women. Also, the building is equipped with a sewerage treatment plant system. In addition, a Bangabandhu Corner and Mural of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have been set up in the complex.
The Prime Minister said her government has wanted to modernize the land management system further and that is why the government has been constructing new office buildings in union and upzila levels. To this connection, she also raised the question as to why the previous governments who came to power before the Awami League didn’t renovate or construct new buildings for the land office although those were in dilapidated state. Sheikh Hasina said the more irony was that the BNP-Jamaat alliance in 2013 set fire to many land offices across Bangladesh and also killed people including women-children by carrying out arson attacks on moving buses and other vehicles. She continued that actually, the BNP-Jamaat is not working for people as it is the organization which grabbed power illegally and established military dictatorship. She went on saying, “They have no responsibility for people and the country as well. Power and making money from power as well as militancy, terrorism and corruption is their only job, and they have done it.”
But, when the Awami League (AL) comes to power, it always tries to develop the socio economic condition of people in the country, she said, adding, “It’s only become possible, when AL is in power as we work with sincerity, an ideology, policy and far-reaching plan.” She stated that leaders and activists always stand beside people since the war of liberation and in other necessities.
But, she said, “Those, who come by flying and sit in power, don’t have that responsibility . . . they turn the power into a place of enjoyment and a machine to make money. They don’t put concentration on the country’s people and that is the reality.”
Mentioning the initiative of constructing new office across the country, the head of the government said at present Assistant Commissioners (Land) have been posted in almost all the upazilas of the country and at the same time, vehicles have been provided to them to perform their official duties, inspection and conduct mobile courts.
“With the appointment of Assistant Commissioners (Land) in almost cent percent upazilas with vehicle facility, dynamism in the land administration has increased and it is becoming possible to provide the desired service to the people,” she noted. As part of digital land management, she said the government has already implemented an online khatian collection system, which has enabled the land owner to collect the khatian sitting at home. Stating that virtual record rooms have been established with about 4.92 crore digitized khatians all over Bangladesh, she said anyone can collect his desired khatian free of cost from this digital record room.
The Premier said in 8th five year plan, the government has laid emphasis on digitized land management as part of its strategy of land administration development. To this connection, she said three digitization projects have been undertaken to improve and standardize land management. These are The Land Management Automation Project, Strengthening Capacity for Digital Land Survey of the Department of Land Records and Survey, and the National Digital Land Zoning Project based on mouzas and plots, which will be implemented in the next few years.
She hoped, “With the completion of these three projects, a landmark and radical change will take place in the land management of Bangladesh and complete digitization of the overall management will be possible.” The Prime Minister said each of the five projects, inaugurated today under the auspices of the Ministry of Land, will play a leading role in bringing services to the doorsteps of the people. She said in old system, a land owner must go to the Union Land Office to pay the land development tax, but the new way would enable the owner to pay the tax without visiting the office.
Sheikh Hasina revealed that out of about three crore holdings in Bangladesh, data entry work of about one crore holdings has been completed while work on the remaining holding entries is ongoing. “Once the project is implemented, a citizen will be able to get all the information related to land development tax from any place at any time,” she said. The Premier added, “You can also pay it online and get the dakhila (submission) online. This will save your time and money as well as harassment also.”
She said people of grassroots level visit Tahsil offices to receive services and that is why a project to construct 1,496 land offices at the union level is being implemented to ensure service to the people. Construction work of 995 Union Land Offices has already been completed, she said, adding, building of 129 upazila land offices, out of 139, have also been accomplished to offer better services and preserve land related documents.