LAHORE - People would now be getting property deeds and other documents relating to their land holdings and plots in only 30 minutes as the Punjab chief minister on Sunday inaugurated land record computerisation centre in Lahore Cantonment on Sunday.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, CM Shahbaz Sharif termed it a historic project and said that it would be completed by June 2014 in 140 tehsils.

He said when this modern system becomes fully functional in all districts of the province, the culture of corruption, bribery and forgery in the matters relating to land would be eliminated and the people would get rid of the obsolete and exploitative system of Patwaris and Tehsildars.

“Nothing is impossible if one is determined enough. There is a need for self-reformation to turn failures into successes and become an invincible nation through hard work, honesty and continuous struggle,” he observed.

Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, members of national and provincial assemblies, intellectuals, columnists, TV anchorpersons, analysts as well as Senior Member Board of Revenue and other senior officials were present on the occasion.

Planning & Development Chairman Irfan Elahi threw light on Punjab land record management and information system. Giving a briefing on the project, he said this was an important step towards change in style of governance. He said huge amount of public money was wasted on this project due to negligence and undue delay in the tenures of previous rulers.

Elahi said that present government implemented this project expeditiously and saved more than Rs2.8 billion. He said with the completion of this project, proprietary deeds will be available in 30 minutes while the process of mutation will be completed in only 45 minutes. He said that computerisation of land record has also eliminated the threat of theft and loss of documents in fire or flood.

The chairman said that World Bank has expressed satisfaction over the pace of the project and provided additional grant of $50 million for this purpose. He said that third-party monitoring has been conducted to ensure transparency of the project. He said that in 98 tehsils of the province service centres were already functioning and work in the remaining tehsils will be completed by next year.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the project will enable the citizens to obtain proprietary deed of their land as well as facilitate them in the matters regarding transfer of land which will be a big change.

He said that former rulers did not pay due attention to this important project due to which a large sum of public money and time of the nation was wasted. However, he said, Pakistan Muslim League-N government furthered the project of land record computerisation expeditiously and this project will be facilitating the people of the province from June 2014.

The CM said that the government is not against Patwaris and Tehisldars but there was a need to change their mentality which had been a source of problems for the people for centuries. He said that despite summaries of government officers he has not recruited even a single Patwari during last six years and has instead appointed honest, hardworking and talented persons though Punjab Public Service Commission at the service centres, besides adopting an effective check and balance system for this purpose.

Shahbaz said that those criticising the welfare projects of Punjab government were least concerned about the betterment and uplift of the masses. He said that some elements criticised metro bus project and termed it ‘Jangla Bus’ and they had been saying that Rs70 billion were ‘wasted’ on this project but today 150,000 people were benefiting from this mass transit system.

The chief minister said due to corruption and greed of former rulers, an additional sum of Rs30 billion from the public money is being spent on Nandipur power project. He said that work is being carried out expeditiously on this project and its one turbine will start operating from May 2014.

Addressing intellectuals, journalists and columnists who were present at the function, the chief minister said that government and media go hand in hand and the government takes guidance from analysis and comments of the journalists. He said that journalist community will have to play key role in steering the nation out of despondency.

He said that politicians, generals, judges, journalists and all segments of the society will have to make collective effort to take the country out of problems. He further said that the analysis of writers, intellectuals and journalists provide him guidance. He said the journalist community raised its voice against price-hike due to which an effective system was evolved by the government for the provision of essential items to the people at the fixed rates and such measures were taken as resulted in considerable decrease in the prices of essential commodities while the system of supply and demand was also improved.

Similarly, he said, a massive outbreak of dengue was faced in 2011 and journalist community provided guidance in this regard. He said that vigorous efforts were made to counter this challenge and dengue was defeated and it was due to this reason that dengue situation remained under control next year and no death occurred.

The CM said that access to information is of vital impotence for elimination of corruption. He said that it is the responsibility of journalist community to promote awareness among the people about the modern system of land record not only in the country but also among overseas Pakistanis. He said that journalists should come forward and play their due role in this regard.