KOLKATA, 23 December, 2008: For those suffering from those mutation and land conversion blues, here's something to make you cheer up. The state government has just streamlined the complex processes and fixed a deadline for both: 90 days. Any officer who fails to get the job done within three months of the application will face a showcause.
Although the state government (from district and city offices) has been getting regular feedback on the inordinate delay involved in the processes, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee decided to iron out the creases only after similar complaints started pouring in from potential investors who needed large tracts of agricultural land that had to undergo conversion before the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) could hand them over.
In October, Writers' Buildings decided to fix a time-frame for conversion and mutation of land so that the delay in implementing industrial projects could be avoided. The notification on the matter will be issued soon, now that the decision has been taken after a meeting convened by land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah at Writers' Buildings on Monday. At the meeting, the following decisions were taken. The minister said, "Till now, there was no time frame for land conversion and mutation. We have decided to change things now."
Now, till 10 decimal, the processes will have to be done by BL&LRO, up to 1 acre by SDL&LRO and more than 1 acre, by DD&LRO. The officials concerned must act immediately if they can't, they must send a note to their superior officers explaining reasons behind the delay. The notes will be considered and probed. If the probe finds any fault or deliberate delay on the part of the official concerned, a showcause will be slapped on the official. The land and land reforms department has also decided to pull up anyone who doesn't follow the rules of mutation and land conversion by submitting the necessary applications to the authorities concerned. An official said, "If anyone involved in buying and selling of the land is found to have flouted rules and not applied for mutation, a lump sum fine will be slapped on him."
Mutation means substitution of the names of a person by another which may be done by the revenue officer under Section 50 of the West Bengal Land Reforms Act. Mutation is done on the following ground. Transfers of sale of gift, exchange, inheritance. The transfer is to be made by a registered deed.
Similarly, change of land use is regulated by Section 4c of the West Bengal Land Reforms Act. A raiyat may seek permission for change of character and use of any land under Section 4c of the said Act before the SDL&LRO for land up to 0.10 acres and to the DL&LRO for land exceeding 0.10 acres. On receipt of the conversion application and after field enquiry and hearing the applicant, the SDL&LRO or the DL&LRO passes appropriate order allowing conversion if he deems fit.