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Management of Land Resources

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S K Panda Deputy Director General & State Informatics Officer NIC, Odisha

One key area of e-Governance is Land Resources management through ICT. Recognizing this fact, the Government of Odisha decided to implement a project for controlling the Land Acquisition System in the state. The Odisha Land Acquisition Act was formulated to provide a fair and judicious award to the land loosers during the Land Acquisition. When any land is required by Government or Company or Corporation, the Requisition Officer (RO) submits the proposal. If they require the said land urgently, the R.O. should furnish a certificate of urgency for application of Sec.17 (4).

After receipt of proposal from the R.O., the L.A. Collector makes field enquiry regarding correctness of the land plan, land schedule, prepare a rough estimate and request the R.O. to deposit 20 percent of the estimated cost (called establishment charges) for meeting the charges of establishment, contingencies, publication, legal charges etc. The L.A. Collector will send proposal to Govt. in Revenue Department with copies to Administrative Department, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) and Requisitioning Officer for notification u/s 4(1) of L.A.Act. After notification by Government and publication in Gazette, general notice and individual notices u/s 4(1) are served.

After service of notices, estimate is prepared basing on the sale particulars of the village preceding one year from the date of publication of notification. If the sale data relating to the kisam (land type) of land proposed for acquisition is not available in the concerned village, the same of other villages are obtained. If sale particulars relating to the kisam of land are not available in any nearby villages, the rate is fixed on the basis of the yielding of the crops and value thereof of that area.

The proposal u/s 6(1) along with estimate is sent to the RDC with copies to Administrative Department., Revenue Department. and R.O. for publication of Declaration.
The publication of Declaration should be made within one year from the date of publication of notification u/s 4(1), failing which the project is invalidated warranting fresh proposal again to start from the root. After publication of Declaration u/s 6(1), like notification u/s 4(1), general notices are served. Then, after placing the estimated cost by the R.O., Govt. in Revenue Department is moved for issue of order u/s 7 of L.A.Act. After that, notices u/s 9 and 10 are served to the landowners inviting objection regarding interest on the land giving a stipulated time period. The objections received, are heard and award is passed in favor of the landowners and L.A. compensation is paid to them. After payment of at least 80% or more, possession of land is handed over to the R.O. and Abatement Proposal is sent to the District Touzi Section and concerned Tahasildar for diminishing the demand of land revenue and correction of R.O.R. in the name of the R.O.If on the date of Award payment, the awardee receives the amount with protest then within 42 days of the date of award pass, he/she can apply for objection u/s 18.He/she will give an application to the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO). The LAO will scrutinize it and send to court. The Government Pleader (GP) will monitor the case. After decision, GP will send the certified copy to LAO. The LAO will write to GP for his views. His views will be sent to Govt. in Law Department for placing the case to Advocate General. If Law Department decides at any stage, not to file the case (if the Land owner wins the case) or if Supreme Court makes the decision to pay the higher amount, the RO is informed by the LAO and the amount is paid to the land owner.
In case someone has received the amount under protest but not applied for u/s 18 within 42 days, then, after the court decision of Ist appeal (for others), he/she can object u/s 28 within 90 days. But, if applied for u/s 18 in time and rejected by LAO, then one cannot go for u/s 28.
During the land acquisition, the major issues arise for better planning and monitoring and maintaining transparency in the system. For this purpose, National Informatics Centre, Odisha has developed a web based application to help the administration in monitoring the status of Land Acquisition Process in Odisha, project wise, category wise as well as jurisdiction wise.
The software developed by Government of Odisha through National Informatics Centre, is a tool for G2G monitoring by making the information flow from state level to project level in the village. It further helps the government to make the system flexible and transparent. The status of a project at any stage is clearly visible to the top level authority as a result controlling becomes easy. Though there are limitations, still this software project is very useful. This would help in improvising the e-Governance applications in other sectors also.

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