Friday, 16 April, 2021

First model land revenue office is far from digitised


By Manjima Dhakal

Kathmandu, Nov. 8:Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had inaugurated the first Model Land Revenue Office at Kalanki in last June with a concept of digitising the Nepali offices. At the inauguration function, the office was declared a fully digitised one where the use of paper and cash had completely ended. The target of digitising the office was aimed at bringing transparency and ending all kinds of corrupt practices. At the first smart Land Revenue Office, this reporter reached on Thursday to gather information about the current status of the office.
Though the digitisation had brought about some changes in the office, but the overall situation looked degrading.
Middlemen arrived earlier than officials
When this reporter reached the office at 9.40 am, the office gate was opened and an employee was working at the ground floor. One middleman came near this reporter while this reporter had just sat on the bench. He started talking with the reporter after the reporter introduced herself as a service seeker. The middleman suggested the reporter to buy land pieces that were available at Thankot, Swoyambu, Gurjudhara and some other places. Soon after, many middlemen engaged in a race to pull the clients to do business with them.
Likewise, after the office hour began, some officers started meeting the middlemen and paralegals (lekhandas) and talking about yesterday’s cases.
Bishnu Thapa, a service seeker, said one could not accomplish any work without the support of the paralegals. It is very difficult for the service seekers when employees become unsupportive. Thapa complained that the officers had taken two days to identify the status of his land though many land ownerships had been transferred within a few hours on the same day. Likewise, there is no uniformity in the fees of paralegals for the same kind of job. The paralegals were found charging up to Rs. 5,000 to accomplish the transfer of land ownership.
Double ways of attendance
At the first floor of the model office, two digital attendance machines were in operation. But along with the machines, manual attendance registers were also there. Talking about the two attendance methods, acting chief of the office, Kamal Karki, said they could not remove manual attendance registers because digital attendance may not work sometime due to problem in the server.
Still using paper files\ documents The use of digital technology did not look effective. The service seekers have been carrying their paper documents in the digital office even after they submitted the files through computer servers. The officers were working on their computers and on the service seekers’ documents. Talking about the officers, Karki said “The work here is related to the property; we had gained the trust of public only through the digital means although many service seekers are not familiar with this technology. Likewise, sometimes, the server does not work and we still don’t have trust on machines. The documents will last long. So, we have taken time to opt for full digital system”
Delay in services
“Prime Minister K.P Sharma Oli had announced that the service seekers could accomplish their work within five minutes from this smart revenue office. But the service seekers were compelled to visit the office even for three days to get a single job done.” This is the statement given by a service seeker who visited three number door of the office. At the same time, officer Karki said some service seekers would get more trouble when their documents could not be found in time. The problems in servers and internet also cause delay in providing service, he added.
Effective ‘One Door’ system
The one door system seems very effective in the office. There are five officers in different section working in one room. After submitting the file in one section of the room, the service seekers were coming out from the same room by accomplishing their work. So, the service seekers are not compelled to run here and there to accomplish a work.
The one door system has made the service seekers happy. Kamal Subedi, a service seeker, said earlier they use to compell to visit many rooms even for getting small approval, but that is not the situation now. He further added now if a service seeker was aware a bit about their rights and system of the office, it would be fruitful. The Citizen Charter may help to get the works done quickly.
Not functioning token system
There were many display boards for electric token system. But they were not in operation. And the service seekers were found gathering in the front of respective windows rather than sitting on the bench and even standing in a queue.According to Karki, the display board had broken down before Tihar but the office would repair it soon. He said they had managed benches for the service seekers to sit on during waiting time. But they tend to gather in doors and windows of the office, he said
Uncomfortable breast feeding room, ineffective disable-friendly building
Though the model office has set up a breast feeding room at the office, the service seekers are not familiar with it. The room is situated at the fourth floor of the building but a large number of service seekers visit the first and second floor. And the office hasn’t put any sign, instructing the service seekers about the facility of the breast feeding room.
Officer Karki said though they had planned to establish the room at the ground floor, it could not happen due to lack of space. The building has a disabled-friendly toilet and elevator too. But the elevator is not working properly.