Kerala’s revenue minister K. Rajan at a press meet in Dubai on Monday. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: A visiting minister from the south Indian state of Kerala has promised to hold special adalat to settle land-related issues faced by the UAE’s Keralite expats back home.

Kerala’s revenue minister K. Rajan on Monday said a special cell under the Land Revenue Commission will be set up in July to start accepting applications online from the Malayalee expats in the UAE.

All files will be studied and issues will be addressed and settled through the revenue adalat that will be held every six months.

“This will be a green channel to fast track the revenue and land-related issues faced by the expat Malayalees in the UAE,” said the minister while addressing a Meet-the-Press event organised by the Indian media fraternity in Dubai.

“We are aware that expat Keralites are facing several issues related to their land back home. We are starting this initiative as a pilot project in the UAE where a large number of Keralites live. Later on, we will expand it to other countries also,” he said.

The minister said he would personally head the special revenue adalat for the expats. “If everything goes well, we will hold it in person here. If it is not possible to meet in person, we will hold it online,” he clarified.

According to the minister, Kerala is progressing well to make the revenue department smart.

“Our aim is to make all village offices smart with the e-system,” Rajan said, promising that officials would eventually look into providing a video-conferencing facility also for expats.

Land for flat owners

The minister said a new legislation would be mooted for “undivided shares” in properties like residential apartments.

“There are several expats who do not have an independent house or land. Many are buying only flats now. They don’t own the land, have no plot or Thandaper (certificate showing land identification revenue number),” he pointed out.

Under the “Unique Thandaper” system that was recently launched in Kerala, different parcels of land a person owns in the state will be provided a common 13-digit Thandaper number.

The minister said a proposal would be put forward to formulate a legislative framework to decide and execute the undivided shares.

He said Kerala is also planning to come up with a Land Settlement Act to settle the area of lands by making necessary adjustments in measurements amicably.

“We will be consulting everyone on this. In-depth discussions will be held with people including Non Resident Keralites, media persons and those facing land-related problems.”

The government is spending over Rs8billion for digital survey of the entire state using drones and robotic equipment. An integrated portal will be launched to handle all land-related documents that come under various departments, Rajan said.

Online tax payment

“We have already facilitated online land tax payment for Keralites abroad and started issuing e-pattayam with a QR code that links to the documents of the plot in the digital locker of the revenue department.”

He said the aim is to reduce visits to village offices and provide a property card that will contain all documents related to the property in the revenue department’s digital locker.

With the experiences from the devastating floods in 2018 and 2019, he said Kerala is on a path to spread disaster management literacy across the state. The minister said the state government’s compensation had already been allotted to most people who had lost land and homes during the floods.

“We are focussing on sustainable development,” he said, noting that restrictions have been brought in to prevent constructing houses and buildings in flood-prone areas.