Hyderabad; Dharani, an Integrated Land Records Management System brought out by the BRS government, is now a bone of contention for political parties in Telangana and is emerging as an election issue ahead of the November 30 assembly polls.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao-led dispensation launched the Dharani portal in October 2020 as part of reforms in land administration and a one-stop solution for registrations. The state government also identifies beneficiaries for its flagship scheme ‘Rythu Bandhu’, financial assistance to farmers, using Dharani records.
However, ever since it was launched, the project has become a bone of contention with opposition parties, alleging that the ruling party is using the system to ‘grab lands.’ The BRS countered the allegations by labeling the project as a progressive reform.
Leaders from BJP president J P Nadda to AICC former chief Rahul Gandhi severely criticised Dharani in several rallies and other gatherings. Rao, on his part, said project Dharani eliminated ‘middlemen’ in land transactions.
Both the Congress and BJP vowed to abolish Dharani if they were voted to power.
Alleging that the Dharani land records management portal of the state government has become a means to grab farmers’ lands and to siphon off funds, Nadda had said in June, in a meeting in Nagarkurnool, said that if the BJP comes to power, this portal will be abolished. KCR (As the chief minister is popularly known) and his party members were filling their pockets with the money gained out of grabbing the lands of poor farmers, Nadda had alleged.
Saying that the farmers also complained about the Dharani in Telangana, Rahul Gandhi condemned it strongly in a meeting last year. He said it is criminal that a system to modernise land records is dispossessing tens of thousands of Dalits, Adivasis, and other backward castes of their own lands.
“He (KCR) indulged in corruption and scams in the Kaleshwaram irrigation project and also the Dharani land records management system,” Gandhi alleged in his recent meeting in Telangana.
Countering the opposition parties’ remarks, KCR on several occasions said farmers will have control over their land with the Dharani portal, and in the absence of it, land records and registration will get lost in a vicious bureaucratic cycle.
He said with the new system, farmers can sell or buy land using their thumb impression, eliminating middlemen.
“Congress party leaders — PCC President, CLP Leader, and Rahul Gandhi — also said Dharani will be thrown in the Bay of Bengal if they come to power. You farmers, please decide whether the control on your land should be with you or with the officials at various stages?” he asked the public in a recent meeting.
A farmer from Nalgonda district, who did not wish to be named, said though there are some benefits with Dharani, there are still technical glitches. These caused trouble to the farmers as there were delays in updating their records.
He further said earlier when a dispute arises, local revenue officials were authorised to update records after proper inquiry. However, the system was abolished with the launch of Dharani, he added.
Political analyst Telakapalli Ravi said there are mixed versions on the Dharani portal and it may not be a decisive factor in the assembly polls.
(Published 10 November 2023, 05:28 IST)