LAHORE - The Punjab government has initiated a project of land record computerisation which will help reduce the patwari's role in the province. Sources revealed the government would publicise the tenders both in national and international newspapers and electronic media to invite well-reputed national and international firms after the Eid. After short-listing of firms, the project will be awarded to the best firm, they added. The sources informed that the CM had constituted two special committees headed by the chief secretary and senior members board of revenue for finalising the modalities with the concerned firms. They disclosed that the CM had set the target of completion of land record computerisation project within 16 to 18 months. It may be recalled that before the government stepped up its effort to start the project of land record computerisation, around 85,000 patwaris observed province-wide strike against the project. Insiders spilled the information that the strike was launched as the anti-corruption establishment had become active against some patwaris who were allegedly part of the land mafia. The Board of Revenue officials seeking anonymity said that strike was in fact meant to create obstacles in the smooth running of the computerisation and reforms plan of the Punjab Government.  While the association of patwaris, 'Anjuman-e-Patwarian Punjab', ruled out this impression, saying they had been raising these demands since long. The Punjab government sources told The Nation the new government had ordered the Board of Revenue to prepare the latest state land record as well as a report on the situation of state land in the last eight years. The BoR official said, "No doubt the computerisation is going to decrease the workload of patwaris but they would continue to do the field work to help them keep the record properly." "We are using the Urdu software which has never been used at such a level for a huge data. This would help in making the record easy. Only selective people would have access to this data. Patwaris will only have to do field work and his burden would be lowered." Anjuman-e-Patwarian Punjab Mian Sajid said, "We are not against reforms. We want reforms but our rights too." He said the corrupt elements must be identified and arrested but undue harassment must be stopped. He said they had been called for a meeting by the local and provincial authorities but no concrete steps had been taken to approve their charter of demands. He denied the impression that they were anti-reform and against the computerisation of the land record. The demands include upgradation of the post of patwari from government grade 5 to grade 11, family medical allowance and facilities, travel allowance, quota in different category government jobs, exemption from any additional duties which are contrary to their nature of job, regularisation of their service, increase in commission percentage per registration of a piece of land, proper timetable for job, implementation of all relevant labour laws, promotion system in their job, residential colonies for patwaris, provision of computer to each patwari and training for the same, offices for patwaris, and a lot more. As a result of computerisation of land record, fraud and forgery in ownership documents of land will become impossible and the landholders will be able to get information about their properties through computer. It may be recalled that more than 82 per cent of civil cases pertained to land disputes and computerisation of land record will help bring down this proportion of property related cases in civil courts The project will help improve land management, make the land record transparent and accessible online, create investment opportunities in both rural and urban settings particularly in the housing sector with transparent and easily accessible record of land titles. It will increase the efficiency of the Land Revenue Department. The proposed project will reduce time and cost of transactions as most of the information will be ultimately available online. The computerised system will provide the data mining for planning and taxation. All the government, private, social and civil departments dealing with land, land revenue, land titles, land holdings, land mortgage, land leasing and other bodies will get benefit from this system. All the government sector employees will be trained and their skills enhanced during the implementation of this project. The proposed project will reduce litigation, and will promote an enabling investment climate. Last week, the chief minister received briefing by an international firm, Sigma Intelligence Limited UK, in this regard. The chief secretary, senior members of Board of Revenue, secretary information technology, DG LDA, project director land record computerisation, chairman task force and experts form the Sigma Intelligence Limited participated in the meeting.