The government plans to bring all land-related services under automation through 18 integrated software in a bid to the make age-old system more dynamic and transparent and user-friendly.
The planned land automation management will create an interoperable land database providing fast and hassle-free online services such as Namjari, giving land development tax, collecting Porcha across the country, according to an official document obtained by UNB.
To this end, three projects have been taken so far.
The projects are- Strengthening governance management project (Component- B: Digital Land Management System), Digital land record, Survey and Maintenance project, and National Land Zoning project.
Besides, to protect the arable land and to ensure food security there will be Mouza and plot based national digital land zoning.
As per the document, after completion of digital zoning depending of the usage of land it would be possible to take decision on protecting agricultural land of the country and its maximum utilisation.
The government has also taken move to bring all cases of the revenue courts under one integrated networking system to accelerate case disposal and mitigate public sufferings.
The project titled “Land Management Automation” that got Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approval is scheduled to end in June 2025, and its cost has been estimated at Tk 1,197.0318 crore.
According to the officials people would get land mutation, lease, and tax payment facilities online without hassle after completion of the project apart from bringing transparency in revenue collection.
About 5,247 land offices will be connected online to provide services to people.
Once the project is properly implemented, the number of land-related disputes and other incidents will be reduced significantly.
It would also reduce the influence of middlemen in land related cases.
The ministry of land will implement the mouza- and plot-based national digital land-zoning project. The project will cover some 56,348 mouzas under 4,562 unions of 493 upazilas in all the 64 districts of the country.
Satellite images will be used for this digital land-zoning, while mouza maps will also be digitalized.
According to the project proposal, it will ensure collection, scanning, digitization, database creation, editing plot checking, geo-referencing mouza map, matching of mouza map, and field checking of some 1,38,412 sheets of maps.
In most countries, people get all land-related services, including that for land records and registrations, from a single office.
But in Bangladesh, three offices provide the services that cause sufferings to people and kill huge time. The present method of land recording in land management and registration offices follow the age-old system of hand-written documents.
Bangladesh’s land has been divided in terms of authorisation, which continues to pose a problem.
The land ministry is looking after the survey and record issues, while the law ministry is handling the registration process.
As per the National Land Zoning Project, Bangladesh has a total land surface area of 12.31 million hectares, of which presently 7.85 million hectares are for agriculture.
The land surface area accommodates over 152.25 million people.
Due to population growth, the share of land per capita is shrinking every year, making the resource base for agriculture, forest and wetlands more vulnerable and marginalised.
In 1983-84, there were 20 million acres of total cultivable land, which dropped to 17.5 million acres in 1997.
The major factors compelling people in Bangladesh to overexploit the natural resources are poverty, rapid population growth, improper land use and ineffective implementation of existing laws and regulations.
Competition for diverse uses of land resources, the tremendous growth of population, natural and man-made hazards, economic opportunities and ecological hot spots call for distinctive and sustainable land management arrangements through the development of “Land Use Based Zoning” in the country.
The government has realised the necessity for this move, and has formulated more policies, strategies and planning documents making special reference to different land issues and its integrated management, an official document mentions.
The land record and registration offices are filled with handwritten paper documents and registers while many of those are over 100-year old, damaged and almost unable to use due to humidity or half-eaten by booklice, wood worms, termites, mice and cockroaches.
Necessary civil engineering for construction of a central data centre in the Land Record and Survey Department has been completed and necessary equipment has also been installed.
A data backup and recovery centre has been installed at the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the city’s Agargaon area under the management of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC).
Once the system is fully automated, landowners and buyers will not have to visit more than 10 government offices regarding documents. All the documents will be uploaded to a central database, to which the government officials and the people, in some cases, will have access.