Maharashtra: Talathis on strike over senior officer’s ‘derogatory remark’, seek his transfer

Over 17,000 talathis with the Maharashtra Revenue Department went on a strike from Wednesday, seeking the transfer of a senior officer who allegedly made a “derogatory remark” on a WhatsApp group in response to a statement shared by a union leader.

Following the alleged incident on October 5, members of the Maharashtra Rajya Talathi Patwari and Mandal Adhikari Samanvay Mahasangh demanded that the officer, State Coordinator of Land Records Digitisation Programme Ramdas Jagtap, be removed from the position. They also handed over their Digital Signature Certificate Drivers (DSC) to the respective offices on Tuesday, thereby halting all the work of providing 7/12 extracts, mutation and landholding documents to landowners. The protests started on October 7, and the strike was called today.

Jagtap told The Indian Express, “This is hardly an issue. My seniors are aware of the facts and there’s no merit in their accusations. I won’t be able to say anything more than this.”

Jagtap, an officer of deputy collector rank, is known for “ably leading” the digitisation programme that has made land records easily available to farmers and other landowners.

According to the protesters, Dyandev Dubal, who heads the Mahasangh, had circulated a message on social media on October 5, criticising Jagtap’s working style and recounting how talathis were facing hardships in implementing the state government’s order to distribute free copies of digital 7/12 extracts amid heavy crop losses caused by heavy rains.

“Dubal is a respected personality and he has worked in the field for over 40 years. We are demanding that the officer should be transferred out,” said a functionary of the association. Talathis have been joined by Circle Officers as well as some other staff in the agriculture department.

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