As part of digitising Bangladesh's land management, around 65 lakh bhumi khatians (records of land rights) have been scanned and indexed into a computerised system under a government initiative.
According to an official document, 18,500 map-sheets have also been scanned and indexed under the "Digital Land Management' project" that began in July, 2011, and ended in June, 2016.
The government implemented the project to remove unnecessary complexities in land registration, transfer and and other land-related issues.
"We have completed a mammoth task, and this will give the country's land management system a big leap," a senior Land Ministry official told UNB.
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).
The official document further said the refurbishment work of 53 district and upazila offices under the project has already been completed.
The document also mentioned that 20 upazila Land Information and Service Centres have already started offering services and consultants have been appointed to run them.
On completion of the current project, the Land Ministry plans to implement another project titled "Land Management Automation," which was sent to the Planning Commission for approval, said the ministry official.
After gaining the Planning Commission's approval, the land management system of the entire country will be run through a computerised system following the project’s implementation, according to another official document.
Besides, the document reveals that a pilot project, "Strengthening Access to Land and Property Rights to All Citizens of Bangladesh," is also being implemented.
Under the pilot project, AC (Land) office, sub-registry office, settlement office, and two union land offices of Monirampur upazila in Jessore district have installed "Integrated Digital and Land Record System" software to digitalise the land management system.
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.
Through this project, a plan has been put in motion to simplify land management through countrywide land mutation, collection of land development tax, khas land and sairat mohal (water bodies) management and office and finance-management.
The government also has further plans to resolve problems related to land management through digital system. 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.
Once the ongoing land digitisation projects are completed, the government officials sitting at their offices will be able to check any transformation of land, including infrastructure and ownership.
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 over exploit 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.