Despite its tall claims to eliminate the patwari culture from Punjab, the Punjab government has finally proposed to rename patwaris as the Revenue Assistants.

Punjab Land Record Authority (PLRA) was established to replace the patwaris. With the accomplishment of a project of land record computerization worth over Rs12 billion, record centers have established across Punjab that started extending facilities in 143 Tehsils of the province with a total area of 205,345 square km and over 80 million population.

Land Records Management and Information Systems Project (LRMIS-P), a World Bank funded program, was signed in January 2007. Though the BOR claims the PLRMIS computerization was just a scanning of the board record and the system was using it as a copy at the service centers. 

Earlier, in Punjab, around 8,000 Patwaris used to preserve land records of the 20 million land owners. Shahbaz Sharif had criticized the patwar khana saying if it had been helping the people there was no need to modify the system. He also pledged to end the traditional patwari system from across the province. The Punjab government had stopped recruiting of the patwaris on the vacant seats of the retired officials.

Moreover, a proposal to restructure the Board of Revenue (BOR) was moved to the Senior Member Board of Revenue (SMBR) who sought comments from the commissioners, board officers, and others.

Sources told that the proposal was floated by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shaikhupura. Official sources in a commissioner office told that his office forwarded the proposal to the BOR. A commissioner on anonymity said that he had conveyed to the SMBR that the government would be playing on very weak footing if it ignored the importance of the board. The Punjab Land Record Authority (PLRA) Director General was also conveyed about the alarming situation in districts. “People are suffering more than they used to do during patwari culture,” he said.

“Whatever is happening in the current computer system, its consequences would be fierce,” said an official of the Arazi center run by the PLRA. In this regard, the DG PLRA was also sensitized. As the CM had time and again pledged to eliminate the patwari culture from the province so it was proposed to recruit new people to replace them.

It is also learnt that a new wing is being established in the board to devise policy and do research, headed by the Secretary Revenue. He will do his work to overhauling the department.

Talking about the proposal an official of the DC Office Shaikhupura told that the Revenue Assistant will be hired in BP 12 with graduation through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC). The qanungo/girdawars may be converted to Revenue Supervisors grade 14. The option of the hiring of the existing staff would be open. Those with 25 years of service and not more than 50 years of age could be eligible to qualify for the newly created slots.

A new tier of the Revenue Supervisor BP 14 will also work as Assistant Collector grade II. All the tehsildars with 25 years of experience and below 50 years may also apply after passing certain tests or fresh graduates with a bachelor degree may be recruited through PPSC. There is also a proposal to entitle them with 800 cc official vehicles.