Some decisions taken by the Government seem to become such a burden on common people that whenever we think about it, we find no other way out but splitting our own head. In Bihar, the law for land registration clearly suggests that the initial cost is higher than the final outcome. The registration tax was fixed after making proper classification of the cities of Bihar. Fifteen years have passed since the Registration Act was introduced in Bihar, but neither any organisation nor any social representative protested against it. Even now the common people do not want to step into the quagmire. They only know that to buy or sell any land you have to pay the registration tax which has been fixed. There are some parts in Bihar where the Registration tax is higher than the value of the land. Consequently, people have to think before buying any land. Yes, in the cities there are some areas where the Registration Tax is less than value of land. Despite of all this, the Bihar Government is not keen to take any kind of action on this matter and neither does any social representative take up this issue with the Government. There are also some villages in the districts of Bihar where the buying and selling of lands has ceased, due to which the people concerned are not able to organise the marriages of their daughters and/or send their children out of the state for higher education. Before 1995, registration tax for land which cost Rs. 50,000 used to be Rs. 105 per thousand rupees. If the cost of the land was more than that, then Rs. 42 extra had to be paid for every thousand rupees. So people used to divide land worth Rs. 1 lakh into two parts each of Rs. 50,000 to avoid the extra tax. For Rs 2 lakhs they used to make four stamp papers. But on 14 June 1995 the Bihar Government introduced the manual for the valuation of stamp papers for which land in rural areas was divided into four categories : ‘Fasla’, ‘Bhit’, residential and industrial and the Registration tax for each was also determined. Likewise, land in the urban areas was divided into four categories : Principal main road, main road, other roads and alleys and the Registration Tax was determined accordingly. The government officials decided the Registration Tax on their own, going by hear say, without referring to the actual situation in the State. This resulted in a situation where the Registration Tax is higher than the actual value of the land. If the people of any part of the State protested against this, then the Government corrected the Registration tax only for that area. But till now, the conditions in areas where people didn’t protest, are the same.
After the partition of Jharkhand, Bihar has only got three sources for gaining revenue : Sand, Country and Foreign Wines, and Registration Tax. The revenue collected from these three sources is helping to run the whole state. Although the common people are facing so many problems, the Government has nothing to do with it.
In the Aliganj mohalla of Gaya district, which comes under the Gaya Municipal Council, the Registration Tax was increased 400 times above the actual value. So the common people of Aliganj protested against it. After which Kamal Ashraf, who was the Registration Officer at that point of time, used his special powers to reduce the value of the Registration tax. But in Magadha colony, which is also under the Gaya Municipal Council, the Registration Tax is still higher than the value of the land. This information was also confirmed by the Director of Shanti Niketan Academy and socialist Mr. Hari Prasanna Pappu. He said that two years earlier he bought land in the Magadha colony whose Registration Tax was higher than the value of the land. Likewise one of the villagers of Ghareya village in Wajirganj area said that the Registration Tax in his village and in some surrounding villages is higher than the value of the land. Due to this anamoly, the villagers are facing problems in selling their land for financing the marriages and higher education of their children. But neither the social representatives nor the organisations are concerned about this situation. The main reason behind this is that the valuation of Registration Tax is not equal for or in all parts of the state. The valuation for urban areas is different from the valuation of the rural areas, due to which the Government is unable to have any meaningful discussion at the State level or at the Panchayat level. The most important thing is that valuation of land in urban areas should be done after every year and in rural areas after every two year. The increment in the value of land should be only 10-20 percent. But the common people are still suffering. Despite this, buying and selling of land is being carried out on a large scale. Chairman of Bihar Deed Writers Association, Mr. Murari Kumar Sinha stated that even when people of Gaya District used to draft stamp papers twice, thrice or may be five times for one piece of land, the Registration Tax was about Rs. 15-16,000 per year. But nowadays one stamp paper can be of crores, and still the Registration Tax hasn’t reduced. In urban areas, the Registration Tax for “Pucca” houses in the alleys (galis) is Rs.1350 per square foot and for “Khaprail” houses it is Rs. 700 per square foot. In urban areas, for every thousand rupees transaction, Rs. 80 are being charged as Registration Tax and in the rural areas, for every thousand rupees transaction, a Rs. 60 Registration Tax has been determined. In the Municipality areas, two per cent extra tax is collected. Chairman of Bihar Deed Writers Association, Mr. Sinha added that the discussion on valuation of land and Registration Tax started in 1992. Social organisations petitioned a case against it in the Patna High Court on which a stay order was issued by the court. But in 1995 the Government reintroduced the Act and after that the taxes are being collected on the same pattern. He also said that it is compulsory for us to abide by the Registration Act that has been introduced by the State Government for buying and selling of lands. The situation is almost the same in places like East Champaharan, West Champaharan, Patna, Nawada, Nalanda, Purniya, Arariya, Saran and Muzaffarpur. Due to this Act, higher class people of society do not face any challenges, but the middle class and the lower class are facing a lot of problems. Nobody is paying attention towards this important issue, even though all the Registrars of the Registration Office have special orders to use their powers in reducing the taxes. Yet no collective protest against this big problem with big question marks has been seen so far. Moreover, after the partition of Jharkhand, Bihar has only got three sources for gaining revenue : Sand, Country and Foreign Wines, and Registration Tax. The revenue collected from these three sources is helping to run the whole state. Although the common people are facing so many problems, the Government has nothing to do with it.