#40 bigha ceiling proposed on non-agricultural land for the first time in Land Ownership and Uses Act
#/Land development tax cannot be paid in cash from April 14
Staff Reporter, Dhaka : Lands Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury said that the ‘Land Crime Prevention and Redress Act’, considering illegal land occupation as a criminal offense and providing appropriate penalties and fines, has been sent to the Cabinet Division for next action. He also said that the government has – for the first time made a provision to keep a ceiling on non-agricultural land as well – keeping in mind the scarcity of land in Bangladesh. Initially, 40 bigha ceiling (upper limit) is proposed in the ‘Land Ownership and Uses Act’.
Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury said this while addressing the Deputy Commissioners in the DC Conference 2023 held in Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital today as the chief guest at the working session of the Land Ministry. Cabinet Secretary Md. Mahbub Hossain chaired the session. Land Secretary Mohammad Mustafizur Rahman PAA, Land Appeal Board Chairman A K M Shamimul huq Siddique, Land Reform Board Chairman Md Abu Bakr Siddique. Land Record and Survey Department DG Md. Abdul Barik, and senior officials of the Cabinet Division, Ministry of Land, and its departments were present at the session.
Saifuzzaman Chowdhury said that the ‘Land Ownership and Uses Act’ will have such provision so that the maximum limit of non-agricultural land would not become an obstacle for setting up large industries. In this case, the government can grant permission to set up industries in excess of the upper limit of non-agricultural land on a special application. The draft of the ‘Land Ownership and Uses Act’, aimed at protecting agricultural land, providing for the maximum limit of non-agricultural land, food security, and reducing the harmful effects of climate change, will also be sent to the Cabinet Division next week.
The land minister also added that the draft of the Land Crime Act has been prepared with the idea of ‘Who belongs documents, land belongs him’. No matter how many years one forcibly occupies a piece of land, the ownership of an illegal occupant without proper documents will never be recognised under this act. After the enactment of the law, the harassment related to land grabbing will be reduced significantly.
Documents mean the relevant documents including deed registration documents, Records of Rights, and related documents. The agricultural land ceiling is 60 bigha. After the scrutiny of the Cabinet Division, the process of sending the draft of these two laws to parliament for making laws will begin.
(Cashless Land Development Tax)
Saifuzzaman Chowdhury said the cashless land development tax system will be introduced across the country from the next Pahela Baishakh (April 14). From then on, LD tax will no longer be accepted directly/manually. Cashless e-mutation system has already been implemented. About 45 lakh recept (dakhila) have been to the citizens. 375 crores of land development tax was collected online which was instantly deposited into the government treasury through the automated challan system.
(Citizen Service Center and CC Camera)
The minister said a citizen service centre is being set up at Bhumi Bhaban at Tejgaon. This service will be expanded at the district level in gradually. Initiatives will be taken to provide land services to the citizens by appointing district based agents and for this private agency policy is being made. In addition to the call center, citizens can go directly to these service centers to receive land services. Besides, CC cameras will be installed to monitor private agent activities and upazila and district based citizen committees will be formed.
(Bangladesh Digital Survey)
Saiuzzaman Chowdhury said that digital surveys is being conducted across the country under two projects. Survey has started in Patuakhali under a project. Digital survey of a Mouja has already been completed. Under another project, there will be digital survey in 3 City Corporations (Chittagong, Narayanganj and Rajshahi Metropolitan), Manikganj Municipality, Dhamrai Upazila and Kushtia Sadar Upazila. Apart from these areas, there will be a digital survey under the project started in Patuakhali across the country.
(Preparation of ROR Tree and Delivery of ROR by Post Service)
At present, more than 5.21 crore land ownership and more than 75,000 mouza map information are available online, the minister said. About Tk 13.57 crore government revenue has been collected from this system. The postal department is now delivering Record Of Rights (ROR) /khatian to the citizen’s address. So far, more than 3 lakh Khatian sent to the citizens by the postal department. It has also been decided to provide this service abroad. Mutated ROR is constantly being added to this system. As soon as the land is mutated from any ROR, arrangements are being made to display the tree of the new ROR created continuously from the original ROR through artificial intelligence. As a result, there will be transparency in the purchase and sale of land and litigation will be reduced.
In this session, the Deputy Commissioners expressed their views and asked questions. Various issues related to land management, including mutation, Haat and Bazar, land office construction, water bodies, land management, the court of wards, human resource and training, digitalization, innovation in land management have been discussed in the session.
It is to be noted that the Deputy Commissioner as a Collector is the designated officer at the district level to provide all related services, including land revenue and land management, except for land registration and land survey.
After the session, the Land Minister met the press and answered the questions of journos regarding the directions he has given to the Deputy Commissioners.
(Automatic Mtation after Land Registration)
Md. Mostafizur Rahman PAA said that more than 4 crore holding data has been converted to digital from manual. Technical linkage of e-mutation system with e-registration system has been established. Along with e-Mutation, land development tax along with holding number will also be automatically determined. It has been piloted in 17 upazilas.
(Automatic ROR & Mauza Map after Mutation)
The secretary also said that satellite images are being purchased, including digitizing 1,38,000 maps of the whole of Bangladesh. A database of plot-based land classes is being created by placing satellite images on top of this map. By March 2023, 10,000 digital mouza maps will be connected to the e-mutation system. This digital map and ROR will be automatically updated with the mutation. Citizens will instantly get the length-width, location and measurement of their land from the Bhumi Seva app.
The secretary said that about 1.2 million calls have been disposed from the call centre. The number of calls disposed of from abroad is around 6000. About 11,400 follow-up calls (call backs) have been made. 20800 land related legal advice has been provided to citizens through call centers and Facebook.
The secretary said that about 2 lakh mutation are being disposed of online every month through the e-mutation system. So far, about Tk 160 crore collected online from the cashless Mutation system and has been deposited instantly in the government coffers.
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