The Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury hoped it will be possible to implement fully digital, i.e. end-to-end digital services in the land development tax system across the country, as like the e-Mutation system by January next year.
Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury optimized this in an interview with BBC News Bangla. The interview was premiered on the news media’s social media YouTube channel Yesterday, Wednesday 21.
It is to be noted that the application process, fee payment, and collection of necessary documents such as DCR and ROR in the Mutation system after the approval of the mutation application is now fully digital. Besides, no fee will be received manually/in cash in the e-Mutation system from next October 1, 2022,
In response to a question related to illegal land grabbing, Land Minister said, the Land Ministry is working on the drafting of the ‘Land Crime Prevention and Redress Act' from the idea of 'Who has the documents owns the land' (Documents means supporting documents including proper registration deeds, Record of Rights etc). He said the draft of this law will be sent to the cabinet division for vetting; it will then be sent to parliament for enactment.
No matter how many years one forcibly occupies a piece of land, the ownership of an illegal occupant without proper documents will never be recognized under this Act.
The land minister also commented that ownership of land by simply occupying it without proper documents is injustice in this time.
The minister hoped that the land grabbing related harassment of people will be significantly reduced after the enactment of the law.
Noting that most of the lawsuits take place because of a lack of proper surveying, the land minister also told the BBC that Bangladesh Digital Survey (BDS) project has been undertaken for this purpose. He said the BDS has been started as a pilot in Patuakhali and Barguna using state-of-the-art technology, including drones.
In the meantime, some experimental results have been received, which are about 99 percent accurate. After reviewing it, BDS will be started soon across the country by taking the necessary action plan. The land minister believes that the lawsuit will be significantly reduced after the completion of the BDS. The minister hoped that the prime minister would inaugurate the BDS simultaneously across the country.
Explaining the importance of the Land Ministry’s responsibility and the extent of the scope of work in national life, the Land Minister said, The Ministry of Land is a very big ministry. The land ministry is as big as the map of Bangladesh itself. There are plenty of opportunities to work here.
Since there are complaints about land offices from all over the country, it is very difficult to make a surprise visit across the country as a minister, the land minister also said in the interview, adding that, he also said, it is best to bring qualitative changes by improving the system in land administration.
“I thought we had to bring more qualitative changes; the system has to be developed here and if we can develop the system, I do not need to talk to anyone. The system will dictate everything and people will continue to get services through the system.” - The minister said at the time.
“Don’t make people suffer, you have to think out of the box and change your mindset, you have to be business friendly and you have to think about how to serve the people” - the land minister said while explaining what he hopes from the public servants providing government land services. The minister also said that he encourages constructive debate in any decision.
Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury also spoke about his political and personal life apart from the land ministry in the interview. Noted, BBC News Bangla is a foreign language division of the BBC World Service, UK-based media, broadcasts in Bangla. BBC Bangla broadcasts news from Bangladesh, South Asia, and around the world.