Director General of the Directorate of Land Record and Survey, Abdul Mannan, on Monday observed that loopholes in the traditional land recording system, lack of awareness about land rights and corruption of the administration are leading to gross violations of land rights among the weaker sections of the society.
Addressing a seminar at Brac Centre, he also noted that the entire civil service system has failed till now to look after the problems of the marginalized.
“Rather, they’re used to supporting the influential,” he added.
The seminar, styled “Motivation & Performance of Land Entrepreneurs”, was organised by Brac to discuss the performances of some 200 land surveyors they trained up and motivated to take up land survey as a profession both from the business and the altruistic perspectives.
The director general said women in general are deprived of the land they legally inherit because the male members of the family can influence the land surveys done for splitting the inherited property among the family members.
“As per the traditional system of land recording, the land surveyors are used to demarcating the inherited land only with verbal claims from the brothers that they have no sister. This is the practice,” he said.
“You know the sister may be married off somewhere 20 kilometers away and she will need to fight at least 20 years if she took the matter to the court to claim the land. Moreover, in our society, women claiming the inheritance are stigmatized as bad women,” added Mannan.
On the other hand, the lands of the ethnic and the religious minorities are prone to being grabbed by the local influential by means of forged documents and records, besides muscle power, he said.
“Land management in the country is also very complex and problematic. The surveys and records are done by the land administration, while the management is controlled by the district administration. The offices where the required services are provided are different; hence increasing the chances of corruption,” he said.
Abdul Mannan noted that while the land recording and management system needs to be modernized, there is also the need to raise awareness about land rights among the society.
The land administration has already started digitizing the mouza maps, but the program is moving with a slow pace due to lack of finance from the government, he said.
He also mentioned that the pilot digitization of some maps in Savar upazila in Dhaka district which were earlier claimed to be completed by the land administration were actually a farce implemented under pressure from the ‘upper levels’.
The seminar was chaired by Brac vice chairman Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury.
Corruption, lack of awareness in land recording system