LAHORE: The Punjab Land Record Authority (PLRA) has decided to take action against corrupt staff members of the department as the preparations of a secret list of corrupt officials is under the works, Pakistan Today learnt reliably on Thursday.
Well maintained sources in PLRA informed this scribe that the purpose of establishing the authority [PLRA] was to eradicate Patwari culture because of the innumerous complaints of corruption in all areas where the Patwaris manage land records and other related matters.
Sources believe that the authority had digitised the land records but at the same time, corrupt elements had become active within the authority.
Sources said that many complaints regarding the corruption of service centre officials kept coming to the authority’s head office wherein people divulged that they were asked for a bribe in exchange for changing the land record.
Similarly, some employees were also found to be involved in corruption in matters related to the issuance of computerised land documents.
Sources revealed that some of the staff of the head office were also involved with these corrupt elements and many officers received monthly bribes from the staff of service centres.
In this regard, when PLRA Director General (DG) Moazzam Iqbal Sipra was contacted, he admitted the loopholes and said that the Punjab government was committed to providing transparent services to the people which would be ensured.
However, he added that people were not benefiting from the computerised land records system due to long queues at Land Record Centres, the complexity of documents, delays in land transfers and slow procedures in general.
“We are committed to eliminating all such issues and shortcomings. Issues such as limited use of technology, unfamiliarity with the law, incompetence of some staff and corruption have undoubtedly affected the functioning of the authority,” he said.
Regarding the services provided to the public, corruption, incompetence and forgery, the DG clarified that corruption and incompetence would not be tolerated in the PLRA.
“I have issued instructions to my staff for completing all pending departmental inquiries regarding corruption and incompetence. We recently fired an official from the Gujar Khan Land Record Centre who, according to our reports, was found guilty of corruption and involvement with Tout Mafia and was also humiliating the common man,” he told this scribe.
Sipra added that a number of new reforms have been initiated to improve the performance of the authority.
“Computerised registration of evaluation tables has been made mandatory for the prevention of tax evasion and exploitation of people in matters of land transfers. Further, work is being done to pay government fees through e-payments and debit cards for the convenience of people. The authority also plans to provide centralised data to all service centres and expand service outlets,” he concluded.