In a first in the state, the finance department has proposed a radical increase in timing from seven hours to 12 hours at one of its offices.
According to the plan, the Registrar of Assurances (RA) at 5 & 6, Government Place (North) will be open from 8am to 8pm and function in two shifts, instead of the current single shift between 10.30am and 5pm. The new timings were initially expected to kick in on New Year’s Day but has been pushed back.
“We had been told that twinshift operations would start on January 1. But since no order has arrived yet, the roll-out has perhaps been delayed,” an RA official said. This office currently functions six days a week and is closed only on holidays declared under the Negotiable Instruments Act. The office registers deeds of properties in Kolkata and rest of the state, apart from trust deeds, partnerships, wills, power of attorney, sales and gifts under the Registration Act, 1908. Registration is done to ensure government record of a transaction. The mutation of properties can happen only after registration.
According to the finance department proposal, one shift will function from 8am to 3pm and the next from 1pm to 8pm, allowing new property owners more flexibility in registration. The proposal also includes doing away with geographical demarcation of the four offices of additional RA (ARA). At present, ARA 1 registers deeds from South 24 Parganas and Howrah, ARA 2 from 18 police station areas of Kolkata, ARA 4 from North 24 Parganas, Nadia and Murshidabad and ARA 3 from the remaining districts. Last year, the daily deadline for presentation of deeds was extended from 2pm to 5pm for ARA 1 and ARA 2 without any amendments to the West Bengal Services Rules 1962. Sources said the finance department had initially planned to push through the new proposal to allow registration from 8am to 3pm in ARA 1 and ARA 2 and from 1pm to 8pm at ARA 3 and ARA 4 without amendment but had since decided to go in for legislative changes.
The office clocks a revenue collection of Rs 700 crore annually. Around 37,000-38,000 deeds are registered every year. For every property transaction in municipal area, 1% registration fee and 6% stamp duty is charged for properties worth up to Rs 40 lakh and 7% for properties worth beyond Rs 40 lakh. For properties in non-municipal areas, the registration fee remains same but stamp duty is 5% for properties worth up to Rs 40 lakh and 6% for property beyond Rs 40 lakh.
The clerical staff are unhappy with the proposal, given the dwindling strength. At present, there are 26 state employees and 14 from Webel, down from around 100 in 2005-06.
Source: Times of India