By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 13 Jul: A sting operation conducted yesterday (Friday) at the Dehradun Tehsil Office has exposed the callousness and illegal activities of Patwaris posted in the Dehradun Tehsil Office. Raw video footage of the sting is in possession of this correspondent, which shows that instead of sitting in the office to deal with the public, the Patwaris have hired services of private individuals to deal with the public and even sign the documents on their behalf! This is not permissible under any rule and the documents signed by them, technically are illegal as they are not signed by the official authority, patwaris in this case! Actually, the sting also indicates how the revenue officers indulge in all sorts of illegal activities without any fear of being caught! It also exposed the government, how careless it has become that the revenue officials openly indulge in the wrongdoings without any fear right under its nose in the state capital! Tuesdays and Fridays are two days in the week, when Patwaris are supposed to sit in the office and deal with the public. People come to the Tehsil office on these days with the forms and applications regarding domicile certificates, residence certificates, copies of land records, caste certificates, income certificates. There are official orders in this regard, that direct the Patwaris to be available to the people during the entire working hours on Tuesdays and Fridays of every week and deal with their needs and problems! However, the Patwaris are taking their responsibility so casually that they are willing to indulge in the illegal act of hiring services of private individuals who sit in place of the Patwaris in their official chairs and receive applications from the people and issue certificates to them. When contacted, Tehsildar Mukesh Rautela claims ignorance about what is going at the Tehsil Office right under his nose! Shockingly, when the Tehsildar is told about this, he too takes the issue so casually and merely indulges in sending the Nayab Tehsildar to look into the matter. The Nayab Tehsildar takes a round of the offices of the Patwaris and merely directs the persons hired by the Patwaris not to sign the documents! The raw video footage of the sting is available with Garhwal Post and clearly shows the Nayab Tehsildar taking the round and telling the hired persons to not sign the documents. This too, because the journalist conducting the sting operations raises objection to the unofficial persons signing the documents! The bigger question however is, when this can happen in the capital’s main Tehsil Office, it is easy to imagine, what may be happening elsewhere in the state and especially in the remotely located Tehsil offices. It is a matter of common knowledge and also accepted by senior government officers of the state that revenue officials are usually among the most corrupt of the officials who deal with the public. Complaints of distortion and manipulation of land records are not unusual to hear. There have been reports of cases related illegal transfer of title of ownership in the land records. Bribes are not unheard in the matter of land records and issuance of certificates related to income and domicile etc. Several attempts were made today to contact SDM Sadar, Kamlesh Mehta, who is the senior magistrate in charge of the Tehsil Sadar to get his version on the issue, but he did not pick up the phone!