Probing Dharani: Telangana panel to make field visits to examine allegations of land scams

The committee is expected to look into the grievances of farmers whose lands were kept outside the purview of the portal.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jan 12, 2024 | 9:00 AMUpdatedJan 12, 2024 | 9:00 AM

Dharani portal glitches

The five-member committee constituted to rebuild the Dharani portal in Telangana — a prestige project of the previous BRS government that was criticised for its glitches — in its first meeting has decided to make field visits to get to the bottom of the land issues that have been festering for a long time.

The committee is expected to look into the grievances of farmers whose lands were kept outside the purview of the portal — the integrated land records management system of the government.

The committee met in the state secretariat on Thursday, 11 January, under the chairmanship of Land Administration Chief Commissioner Navin Mittal, who is its member-convenor.

It decided to go through the allegations of irregularities that occurred in the administration of land issues, regardless of how much time it would take.

“We may submit interim reports to the government on our findings,” said Sunil Kumar, one of the members of the committee who is an expert on land issues.

Another member, Kisan Congress national vice-president Y Kodanda Reddy, said that farmers suffered a great loss because of the Dharani portal.

He said that the committee intended to examine how the portal functioned and what should be done to make it more farmer-friendly.

The committee, after examining the issues and how the portal should be rebuilt, will submit interim reports to the government in phases and the final report after it completes the assignment. The committee is expected to meet again on 17 January.

The other members of the committee who attended the meeting included former IAS officer and former Land Administration chief commissioner Raymond Peter and retired special-grade deputy collector B Madhusudhan.

Related: How Dharani portal affected Telangana farmers’ pride, livelihood

About the portal

The Dharani portal was launched by the previous BRS government on 29 October, 2020, for the registration of agricultural land and for doing mutations (change of land use).

Former chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao. whose brainchild the Dharani portal was, always insisted that it was the silver bullet for all land issues.

He used to say that mutation, which used to be a very long, cumbersome, and frustrating process, could now be done in minutes.

He repeatedly said that the portal had effectively eliminated the scope for corruption that had become a bane for farmers.

However, the portal faced flak as several farmers alleged that their land records went missing, as a result of which they could not sell or raise loans on their lands.

According to one estimate, there are about 18 lakh farmers outside the Dharani portal. Only those farmers whose lands are included in the portal have passbooks — a document of their ownership of the land.

Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy had made Dharani one of his poll planks while fighting the Assembly elections, and said it had become the cause of farmers’ sorrow.

He alleged that the BRS leaders had knocked away the farmers’ lands using the Dharani portal. He also said the Dharani portal was fit to be thrown into the Bay of Bengal.

After the Congress formed the government in Telangana, Revanth Reddy made a preliminary review of the Dharani administration in December and constituted the expert committee a few days ago to rebuild the portal.