TIB study unearths huge graft in land offices

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Revealing widespread corruption and irregularities in the country’s land service sector, a new study shows that land owners have to bribe up to Tk 2 lakh for the mutation work of a plot of land.
The study of the Transparency International Bangladesh unfolds various bribery rates in different land services and civil suits relating to land disputes.
It says land owners are forced to bribe Tk 100-10,000 in paying land development tax while Tk 1,000-50,000 for land registration, Tk 200-1,000 for withdrawal of records and maps and withdrawal of certified copies of records and maps, reports United News of Bangladesh.
The TIB study detects that the authorities concerned take up to Tk 20 lakh in leasing out haat-bazaar while bribery of Tk 10,000 to 2 lakh for preventing any administrative measures and investigations against collection of toll at haat-bazaars beyond approve rates.
TIB senior programme manager (research and policy) Wahid Alam, deputy programme manager Nigar Ranjan Roy and assistant programme manager Nazmul Huda Mina jointly revealed the findings of the study, titled ‘Land Management and Services in Bangladesh: Governance Challenges and Way-forward’ at a press conference at the TIB’s city office on Tuesday.
TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman, its deputy executive director Sumaiya Khair and director Rafiqul Hasan were present.
The main objective of this study was to explore governance challenges in land management and service provisions in Bangladesh and provides a set of recommendations to overcome those.
Speaking at the press conference, Iftekharuzzaman said corruption has got institutionalised in the country’s land service sector.
‘Although the government has taken an initiative to digitalise the land sector, there’s no visible progress yet. There’s no proper enforcement of land related laws and institutional weakness remains there,’ he said.
The TIB chief said cases related to land disputes are on the rise in the country while about 18 lakh land-related cases are waiting to be resolved, which is 60 percent of the country’s total cases.
Besides, he said, there are huge lack of good governance in mutation, land registration and selection of Land Development Tax.
The study says some positive steps, including digital land survey and maps database preservation, have been taken in the last five years, but challenges in establishing good governance still remains in the land sector.
The TIB put forward a number of recommendations to ensure good governance in the land sector.
The recommendations include establishing a single department under the ministry of land to operate administrative and management operations of land sector and developing a long-term strategic plan for digitalisation of land sector and ensuring an integrated digitalisation of entire land management, registration and land survey.
The study also suggests providing adequate budgetary allocation in the land sector to implement digitalisation initiatives, developing of infrastructure, procuring modern equipments and meeting daily logistical needs.
Source: New Age

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