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Plan to set up fard booths in towns elicits tepid response.

Byline: Waseem Ashraf Butt

GUJRAT -- The Punjab Land Record Authority's plan to establish fard booths at small towns and union council level is facing a lukewarm response from various districts across the province due to some procedural and financial issues between PLRA and the respective administrations.

The project may also face a delay in its scheduled launching by Jan 31st owing to lack of coordination and [reported] differences between the authorities concerned.

The Punjab government [in a public friendly initiative] had directed the PLRA to establish fard booths at town level. Earlier the Computersied Land Record Centres (CLRCs) have been set up at tehsil level [in all 144 tehsils].

Official sources told Dawn that the PLRA decided to utilise resources of the district administration and all the deputy commissioners were directed to facilitate establishment of booths in those small towns where transactions of fard exceeded 300 a month.

Project may miss Jan 31 deadline; procedural, financial issues being cited as reasons for delay

However, the district administration had been asked to bear expenditures of such booths including rent of buildings, provision of computers, printers, furniture, uninterrupted power supply (UPS), cameras, thumb impression machine, payment of utility bills.

The administrations of the districts [where the project is facing delay] opined that being an independent authority and having financial resources PLRA should pay expenditures related to the booths. Moreover, the authority would be in administrative control of the booths.

Ironically, after providing all budgetary and infrastructural needs by the district administration, booths could turn functional only after approval of PLRA's operations wing.

A district administration official said: 'In case we are to propose, finance, establish and run such booths, what PLRA, an independent authority with its huge budget, is meant for and interestingly, PLRA's budget has never went through any audit.'

The authority decided that after four months the concerned authorities would review the ratio of fard issuance at these booths and in case of less than 300, the booth can be abolished forthwith.

As per PLRA's standard operation procedures (SOPs), the booth can be set up even at UC, small town or Qanoongo level.

The purpose of establishment of booths is to ensure facilitation of the general public.

All assistant commissioners in the province had been directed to select locations at UC, Qanoongo or town level in coordination with the CLRCs staff in the respective tehsil.

Provision of optic fibre and [reliable] internet connection are also responsibilities of deputy commissioners.

An official said no [separate] staff had yet been recruited for fard booths which might cause set back to CLRCs that were already in staff deficit.

He said the existing service centre officials (SCOs) would be rotated around these new booths on a monthly basis, and no SCO would serve more than four weeks on fard booths.

The SCO will only issue non-transactional fards (for record purpose alone) after collecting fee, be submitted to Bank of Punjab later on.

Official sources told this correspondent that five booths had been proposed for small towns of Kunjah, Jalalpur Jattan, Karianwala, Tanda and Daulatnagar in Gujrat tehsil and as many for Kharian's Lalamusa, Dinga, Kotla and Gulliana towns.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Jan 27, 2018
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