REVENUE ADMINISTRATION

LAND RECORDS DEPARTMENT

Introduction: THE LAND REVENUE SYSTEM PREVALENT IN SHOLAPUR DISTRICT is rayatwari and is based on a complete survey, soil classification and settlement of the assessment of every field.

In 1830 the sub-collectorate of Sholapur was formed under Ahmad-nagar district. Subsequently, the district of Sholapur was formed in 1838 and consisted of Sholapur, Barshi, Mohol, Madha, Karmala, Indi, Hippargi and Muddebihal. This district was again abolished in 1864. In 1869 the district consisted of seven sub-divisions viz., Sholapur, Barshi, Mohol, Madha, Karmala, Pandharpur and Sangola. Malshiras which formed a sub-division of Satara district was transferred to Sholapur district in 1875.

Consequent upon the merger of the former Indian States, the district is at present divided into eleven talukas as under:-South Sholapur, North Sholapur, Akkalkot, Barshi, Mohol, Madha, Karmala, Malshiras, Pandharpur, Sangola and Mangalwedha.

The seven talukas which formed Sholapur district in 1869 were surveyed and classified and original settlements were introduced therein between 1840 and 1870. The first revision settlement was introduced in the district in 1872. However, the second revision was introduced in the year 1904 in these seven talukas only. The third revision settlement which was due between 1932-1934 was actually introduced in 1947-48 in three talukas, viz.. Sholapur, Madha and Karmala and the second revision settlement is still in force in the remaining four talukas.

In the merged ex-state areas, the survey and settlement was introduced in the ex-Sangli State area (now forming a part of the Mangalwedha taluka) in the year 1909 and in the ex-Akkalkot State area (now forming a part of the Akkalkot taluka) in the year 1926-27. No revision settlement was introduced either before or after merger.

Though rayatwari system was adopted, there were 41 inam villages which were settled under the Exemption from the Land Revenue-Act, 1872 or 1874, as the case may be. These 41 inam villages along with eight such villages from the merged ex-state area, were subsequently surveyed and classified under the Post-War Reconstruction Schemes No. 75 and 77-A and instead of a regular settlement, the assessment on individual holding was fixed in respect of these ex-inam villages, under the provisions of Land Revenue Rule 19. It will thus be seen that the whole of the present Sholapur district has been surveyed, classified and settled.

The first survey settlement was made in Sholapur and Barshi in the year 1840-41, Ropla in 1842-43, Karmala in 1843-44, and Pandharpur-Natepute in 1857-58.

Survey : The survey work of all the talukas in this district was done with a chain of 33 feet and cross-staff. The unit of area was the English acre, with its sub-division, the guntha (121 square yards), 40 gunthas making an acre. The area of each survey number is separately entered in the land records (Akarband) under an indicative number and that of a sub-division too is so entered under an indicative number subordinate to that of the survey number of which it forms a part. The survey of the ex-inam villages was, however, carried out by the plane table method in which the map of each survey number is prepared on the scale of 1": 2 chains.

Maps: Accurate village maps have been prepared (generally on a scale of 1": 20 chains) for all surveyed villages showing the survey numbers and their boundary-marks and other topographical details such as roads, nalas and forests, etc. From these village maps taluka and district maps were prepared on a scale of 1":2 miles.

Classification: The main classes of lands recognised were dry-crop, rice (old and new), and garden lands (motasthal and patasthal). Each field was classified with reference to the texture of the soil, its depth, and deteriorating factors and extra advantages if any. In the case of rice and garden lands, in addition to the soil factor, the water factor was also classified in consideration of the duration of the water-supply and kind of crops grown. The classification value was expressed in terms of annas, 16 annas representing the standard. The soil classification as originally confirmed or made during the revision survey is final and no general re-classification of soil is made again at further revision settlement (section 106 of Land Revenue Code). The holder is, however, entitled to re-classification of his lands on account of physical deterioration and reduction of assessment. All improvements made are exempt from taxation for a period of thirty years immediately preceding the year in which settlement is introduced. Thereafter they are liable to taxation.

Settlement and assessment: Prior to 1939, the settlement procedure was prescribed by administrative order of Government under the Land Revenue Code. Under the Land Revenue Code Amendment Act of 1939 (Bombay XX of 1939), the procedure was brought on the statute book. Under the Land Revenue Code Amendment Act XXVIII of 1956, certain changes have been made in the settlement procedure. The changes in brief involve a shift in emphasis from the general economic conditions of the area and rental values to the prevalent prices and yield of principal crops.

The Settlement is defined as the result of operations conducted in a zone in order to determine the land revenue assessment. The Zone is defined as a local area comprising a taluka or a group of talukas or portions thereof of one or more districts, which is contiguous and homogeneous in respect of physical configuration, climate and rainfall, principal crops grown in the area, and soil characteristics.

The Settlement Officer examines fully the past revenue history of the zone and with a view to assess the general effect of the existing incidence of assessment on the economic conditions of the zone, and with reference to the various statistical data and by careful enquiry in villages, he then proceeds to divide the area to be settled into groups and fix the standard rates for each class of land in groups, after taking into account the physical configuration, climate and rainfall, prices and yield of principal crops.

The following factors are also taken into consideration by the Settlement Officer, if found necessary, viz., markets, communications, population and supply of labour, agricultural resources, variation in the area of occupied and cultivated lands during the preceding thirty years, wages, ordinary expenses of cultivating principal crops including wages and sales of lands used for agriculture.

Standard rate is defined with reference to any particular class of land in a group, as the value of one-sixteenth of the average yield of crops per acre of land in that class of sixteen annas classification value.

Improvements made at the cost of the holders are exempted from the enhancement of the assessment for a period of thirty years immediately preceding the date on which the settlement expires.

The Settlement Officer has to formulate his proposals of settlement on the above basis in the form of a comprehensive report which contains: (1) the various statistics and data collected by him; (2) the reasons for his proposals; and (3) a statement showing the effect of his proposals as compared to that of previous settlement in force and has to submit the said report to the Collector.

The settlement report is published in the regional language in each village in the prescribed manner, together with a notice stating the existing standard rates for each class of land and the extent of increase or decrease proposed by the Settlement Officer. A period of three months from the date of notice is allowed for any objections to the settlement proposals.

Provision is made for referring settlement proposals to the Revenue Tribunal by the State Government at the instance of aggrieved persons (who have to deposit the prescribed amounts of cost) within two months from the date of the notice.

After taking into account the objections, the Collector forwards the Settlement Officer's report to the State Government through the Settlement Commissioner and Director of Land Records with his remarks.

Thereupon, the State Government passes final orders on the Settlement Report and, after a notice of the orders has been given in the prescribed manner, the settlement is deemed to have been introduced.

The assessment to be imposed on each holding in the case of an original settlement is determined by the application of the standard rates to the classification value of the lands through the medium of jantris (table of calculations) prepared by the Superintendent of Survey and the Settlement Commissioner and Director of Land Records, and in the case of a Revision Settlement, it is worked out by increasing or decreasing the old assessment in the same proportion as there is increase or decrease in the new standard rates over the old ones.

A settlement ordinarily remains in force for thirty years. Government may, after the expiry of every ten years from the date on which settlement is introduced, enhance or reduce the assessment of lands in any zone by placing a surcharge or granting a rebate on the assessment with reference to the alterations of prices of the principal crops in such zone.

Additional water advantages derived at the cost of Government can be assessed during the currency of the settlement.

Record of Rights: The Record of Rights Law was enacted in 1913. The Record of Rights has been introduced in all the talukas except eight villages of the merged State areas, which were also subsequently taken up for survey and Record of Rights. The Record of Rights work in these villages is done by the staff of the Revenue department.

The Record of Rights contains the following particulars:-

(a) the names of all persons who are holders, occupants, owners or mortgagees of the land or assignees of the rent or revenue thereof;

(b) the nature and extent of the respective interests of such persons and the conditions or liabilities attached thereto;

(c) the rent or revenue (if any) payable by or to any of such persons; and

(d) such other particulars as the State Government may prescribe under the rules made in this behalf.

The present Record of Rights provides information regarding the total area of the holding, pot-kharab, cultivable area, assessment, judi, nuksan, names and mode of tenancies and crops grown in addition to those particulars shown in items (b) and (c) above.

The State Government has now applied the law to all tenancies. Any acquisition of a right in land is to be reported to the village officers by the person acquiring it, unless it is registered. Failure 10 carry out this obligation is liable to fine by way of late fees.

Tenures: The Sholapur district forms part of the Deccan and besides the usual survey tenure (usually known as Khalsa tenure) the following tenures were prevailing in the district, before the introduction of the various Land Tenure Abolition Acts, put in operation after 1949:-

Inam tenure: The political inams governed by the Saranjam Rules of 1889 and recognised by the British as a matter of political expediency in favour of certain historical families without performance of service have since been resumed with effect from 1st November 1952 under the Bombay Saranjams, Jahagirs and Inams of Political Nature Resumption Rules, 1952. In case of soil grants, the resumption under the rules was outright, and if any encumbrances were created by inamdars, they were extinguished. Only the inferior holders paying assessment according to the grants were recognised as occupants. In the case of Land Revenue grants, the resumption was made by levy of full assessment, the lands having been the private property of the holders.

Jahagirs of 49 villages of the former Jahagirdars and inamdars of the Akkalkot and Hyderabad States were abolished under the Bombay Merged Territories and Areas (Jagirs Abolition) Act, 1953, with effect from August 1, 1954.

The Bombay Pargana and Kulkarni Watans Abolition Act, 1950 (Act LX of 1950), abolished the Pargana watans with effect from May 15, 1951 and covers villages in all the talukas of the district.

The Bombay Merged Territories Miscellaneous Alienations Abolition Act, 1955, was enforced with effect from August 1, 1955 and applied to the merged ex-State areas only. There were no lands covered by this Act, except the cash allowances.

The Bombay Land Tenure Abolition Law (Amendment) Act, 1958, is an important piece of legislation and has departed from the usual concepts of permanent tenants and inferior holders by conferring these rights on several persons who would not otherwise have been entitled thereto. The Act has been enforced with effect from 10th June 1958. It is applicable to the whole of Sholapur district. The object of the Act is to remove some of the difficulties experienced in the course of the implementation of the other Acts so far as they relate to the conferment of occupancy rights on inferior holders or permanent tenants. The implementation of this Act is in progress.

The Bombay Inferior Village Watanis Abolition Act, 1958, has come into force with effect from August 1, 1959. There are no service watan lands in any of the talukas of this district.

The Bombay Personal Inams Abolition Act, 1952, is applicable to 49 villages and the work of determining the occupancy rights and introduction of Record of Rights has been completed in all the villages.

Service inams of all kinds useful to Government have been abolished.

The original survey tenure may be described as the right of occupancy of Government land continuable in perpetuity on payment of the Government demand and transferable by inheritance, sale, gift or mortgage without other restrictions. It is imperative only to give notice of resignation to the Government. This is the tenure as defined in the original Bombay Land Revenue Code (Act V), 1879. However, a new tenure is introduced under the amended Act VI of 1901. Under this Act, the Collector is authorised to grant the occupancy of lands for limited periods or on such conditions as he may think it necessary. According to this, the occupant cannot alienate his land without the previous permission of the Collector. This tenure is known as New or Impartible or Restricted Tenure. It affects only the unalienated lands and is introduced with the object of restricting injudicious transfers in backward areas and safeguarding the lands of economically backward classes from falling into the hands of sawkars (moneylenders).

Functions: The Land Records Department was created in 1884 when the revision survey and settlement operations were nearing completion and the old " Survey Settlement Department" was brought to a close. The Department is an adjunct to the Revenue Department. Its functions are:

(i) to maintain all survey, classification, and settlement records up-to-date;

(ii) to collect and provide statistics of land;

(iii) to provide reliable survey and other records in the courts;

(iv) to supervise the preparation and maintenance of Record of Rights and of the periodical inspection of the boundary-marks;

(v) to conduct periodical revision settlement operations;

(vi) to organise and carry out village site and city surveys on an extensive scale;

(vii) to undertake special surveys for private individuals or for public bodies;

(viii) to maintain up-to-date village-maps and to reprint them and arrange for their distribution to various departments and to the public; and

(ix) to train the revenue officers in survey and settlement matters.

District Inspector of Land Records: The District Inspector of Land Records, Sholapur, is the principal officer in charge of Land Records Department in the district. He is directly subordinate to the Superintendent of Land Records, Pune Circle, Pune, in all technical matters. He is also subordinate to the Collector of Sholapur and has to carry out all administrative orders of the Collector in the matter of survey and land records.

The District Inspector of Land Records is assisted by one Assistant District Inspector of Land Records, nine Cadastral Surveyors, ten Maintenance Surveyors and other necessary ministerial staff.

For the work of Bhima Ujani project he is assisted by one temporary Assistant District Inspector of Land Records, 21 Cadastral Surveyors and other necessary staff.

Duties and functions: Being both a revenue and a survey officer the duties of the District Inspector of Land Records are:

(a) to supervise and take field tests of measurement, classification and pot-hissa work done by the District Cadastral and Maintenance Surveyors;

(b) to exercise check over the proper and prompt disposal of all measurement cases;

(c) to hold responsibility for the maintenance of the theodolite stones in the villages surveyed on minor triangulation method and to arrange for their regular inspection and replacement where necessary;

(d) to compile the huzur statistics;

(e) to maintain the accounts and watch the recovery of the city survey dues, etc.;

(f) to inspect the city survey offices every year and send the inspection memoranda to the Superintendent of Land Records;

(g) to arrange in consultation with the Collector concerned for the training of the junior Indian Administrative Service officers, the District Deputy Collectors, the Mamlatdars and Circle Inspectors, Clerks and Talathis in survey and settlement matters;

(h) to advise the Revenue officers in the district in all technical matters concerned with the maintenance of survey records and the record of rights;

(i) to incorporate all changes in the survey records by issue of survey correction statements.

The surveys were introduced in the following important cities and towns in the Sholapur district in the year noted against each:-

Name of city or town

Year of introduction

Sholapur

1914-15

Barshi

1914-15

Akkalkot

1933-34

Pandharpur

1919-20

Akluj

1948-49

The cost of maintenance of city survey is usually borne by Government. All the revenue arising out of the city survey in the form of non agricultural assessment, occupancy prices on account of disposal of Government lands, non-agricultural assessment on Municipal encroachments measurement fees, copying fees, fines etc. goes to Government and the expenditure incurred over the posts of maintenance surveyors is fully recovered from the public in such a manner so as to make the posts self-supporting.

Consolidation of holdings: The work of consolidation of holdings is being carried out in the district from 1949 and has been completed in respect of 383 villages. There are two Consolidation Officers stationed, one each at Sholapur and Pandharpur, respectively. There are five Assistant Consolidation Officers working under each Consolidation Officer and they are entrusted with the work of preparation and execution of the schemes of consolidation of holdings. The Consolidation Officer has to supervise the work done by the Assistant Consolidation Officers for the smooth implementation of the Bombay Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1947, and has to submit progress reports to the Deputy Director of Land Records, Pune and Settlement Commissioner and Director of Land Records, Pune.

Survey of Village Gaothans: The scheme of survey of village gaothan was sanctioned in 1964. Accordingly, detailed mapping work of 24 villages and enquiry work of nine villages have been completed under the supervision of the Special District Inspector of Land Records (CTS), Ahmadnagar, who is in charge of both Ahmadnagar and Sholapur districts, respectively.

Agricultural Labourers' Colony: The scheme of agricultural labourers' model colonisation was initially sanctioned by the Government of India in the Third Plan for its inclusion in the Centrally-sponsored Agricultural Programme. Under this scheme it was proposed to establish model colonies of about 1,000 families of landless agricultural labourers on 4,000 hectares of forest lands released for cultivation. The scheme provided for payment of financial assistance to the settlers for reclamation of forest lands included in the scheme and for incurring initial expenditure on account of cultivation as well as on the cost of construction of houses. The main features cf the scheme were: (1) Model colonies of agricultural labourers to be established on sizable blocks of land measuring 200 to 400 hectares. (2) Each family to be given four hectares of land for cultivation (free of occupancy price) and provided with a residential house in the colony.

Though the scheme was initially sanctioned in the Third Plan period, its actual implementation was undertaken from the financial year 1968-69. The time-lag between sanctioning the scheme and its actual implementation was due to the fact that considerable time had to be spent in completing all the preliminaries such as removal of valuable tree growth and other forests, survey and demarcation of the land covered under the scheme.

So far as Sholapur district is concerned, two model colonies are sanctioned covering an area of 345 hectares. It is proposed to settle 160 families.

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