Real Freedom after 75 years in this part of India !

After 75 years of Independence, 14 villages of Sandur Taluk of Ballari are about to
witness true freedom.

Sandur, both famous and infamous for its mining activities in Karnataka witnessed
something special this Independence Day. 14 villages of this erstwhile princely state got their
lands and land records officially validated this year through an exercise called revenue
settlement. The exercise might sound like any routine administrative affair, but its importance
is immense for these villagers.

Sandur province earlier comprised a total of 33 villages, out of which 19 villages got
officiated after the reorganisation of states during the settlement drive that happened in the
district of Ballari between 1964 and 1969. However, 14 villages namely Dharmapura,
Karthikeshwara, Devagiri, Susheelanagar, Siddapura, Ramgadha, 18-Hulikunte,
Ranajithpura, Shankarapura, Muraripura, S.Obalapura, Jodi Bommanahalli, Jodi
Kasinayakanahalli and Thippanamaradi were somehow overlooked and did never undergo
the said exercise. Now, finally after more than decades after the first major settlement drive
in the district, these 14 villages of Sandur are about to experience true freedom.

The phrase ‘true freedom’ is being used here because these villages have been
experiencing innumerable restrictions with respect to their land holdings.
The land holders
cannot go to a sub-register office and get the land registered in a sale transaction. They are
unable to pledge their land and get a loan from banks. The farmers have to fight their way
through to get their rightful compensation if they lose their land for acquisition by the
government. Many other hurdles alike are because the land holders currently have a
temporary land record with a ‘pymasi’ survey number in these unsettled villages.

The revenue department is not able to make record corrections and the survey
department is unable to generate valid sketches (and get rid of pyki RTCs) as these are
temporary pymasi records of unsettled villages. Non-agricultural activities are tough to be
taken up as NA (Non-Agricultural land use) permission is difficult to be given without valid
records. Scope for manipulation of these records is quite high, evident from the many scams
that have happened earlier in mining leases.

The original base records drawn in late 1960s in these villages show a complete
mismatch with the present day RTCs (Records of Rights, Tenancy and Cropping information)
in terms of survey numbers and extent. Hence, any title dispute arising between two parties
is tough to be settled in both revenue and civil courts. Law and order issues are a common
occurrence, thanks to the previous arrangement which was confusing and hazy.

‘ _Jilladhikaarigala Nade_ ’ bears fruit:
‘ _Jilladhikaarigala nade, halliya kade_ ’ [Deputy Commissioner (DC) visiting and staying
in a village] is a flagship program of the state government of Karnataka. This program
attracted the attention of Shri Pavan Kumar Malapati, the DC of Ballari to this issue during
one such visit. The villagers of Thippanamaradi requested him to settle their village and
liberate them of all the administrative hurdles being faced by them for decades.

The Collector’s promise that day to the villagers of Thippanamaradi, an unsettled
village of sandur is witnessing the light of the day now. The promise made then was to settle
this village completely by this coming Independence Day. After much homework, preliminary
notification of settlement was done in the month of April, 2022 and the final notification has
been done after due deliberations now just days before Independence Day. The final
notification is out and the villagers are elated as it was a decade-long struggle by them. The
new finalised RTCs are due now to be officiated and will be made available to the farmers
after gazette notification by the government.

Other unsettled villages too shall see final notification very soon as preliminary
notification has been done already by the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Ballari, who is
the settlement officer. These villages finally await to witness true freedom and this shall be a
big boost to revenue administration and improve the overall economy of the region.

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