(b) District Authorities

           

Deputy Commissioner:- The general administration of the district is vested  in the Deputy Commissioner. For administrative purposes, he is under the control of the commissioner, Jullandur Division, Jullandur.

 

The Deputy Commissioner has a triple role to play which, as such, is unique in chracter:

 

(i)                 As Deputy Commissioner, he is the executive head of the district in the sphere of civil administration, development, panchayats, urban local bodies, co-ordination of all governmental activities,etc.

 

(ii)               As collector, he is the highest officer of the revenue administration in the district. He is responsible for the collection of land revenue, other kinds of government taxes, and fees, and all dues recoverable as arrears of land revenue appeals. He is the appointing authority for the most of the important subordinate revenue staff in the district and supervises and controls the work of all of them. He is responsible for the management of large Government estate. He is the court of  Wards for the management of private estate which are held trust by the State for minors and other disqualified persons. He is responsible for the grant and eventual recovery of certain types of loans for agricultural improvement.

 

 

(iii)              As district Magistrate, he enjoys first- class magisterial powers, though he actually tries a few cases. He supervises all executive magistrates in the district, controls the police and supervises their work. He is concerned to some extent with the administration of jails and sub-jails. He is    responsible for the issuing  permits and licenses for fire-arms explosive, petroleum and cinemas. He is also responsible for issuing passport, extending visas and controlling the foreigners. Above all, he responsible for the maintenance of law and order, the prevention and suppression of the crime and the preservation of peace and tranquility in the district.

 

The District Officer is the chief instrument of Government in the district. He has many executive duties and responsibilities, the details of which vary from district to district and from season to season. By and large, he is responsible for the implementation of beneficent schemes, which are initiated by the Revenue Department or by any Government department having field officers working in the district. Accordingly, he is the chief co-ordinating authority on behalf of the State Government at the district level. He is expected to keep watch over the activities of all local authorities in the district and is generally responsible for their supervision and control. He pays particular attention to the implementation of various schemes under the Five Year Plans and Community Development Programme. He keeps the State Government informed of the condition of the district in general in respect of all notable occurrences  ranging from the meetings of political parties to village fairs. He is responsible for the compilation of returns of price, crop forecasts, weather reports, etc. he is responsible for the proper conduct of national, State and local elections. He maintains general control over the supply and distribution of controlled articles. He is also concerned with the rehabilitation of displaced persons and famine and flood relief, if and when necessary.

 

In addition to all his specific duties and responsibilities, the Deputy Commissioner holds residual powers as the State Government’s representative in the district.

 

            Sub-divisional Officers (Civil):- The Sub-divisional Officers(civil) exercise direct control over the Tahsildars and their staff in their respective sub-division. All correspondence between the Deputy Commissioner and the Tahsildars is routed through the respective Sub-divisional officers.

 

            The Sub-divisional Officers have been given the powers of a Deputy Commissioner in regard to the co-ordination work in their respective sub-division without affecting the Deputy Commissioner’s position, authority and effectiveness as the executive head of the district. This decentralization of powers has been effected in accordance with the policy of the government to execute the work speedily and to afford substantial relief to the Deputy Commissioner in order to enable him to concentrate on other important items of work in the district. The Sub-divisional Officer is a miniature District Magistrate in the sub-division. He performs the same kind of work as the District Magistrate. He is the co-ordinating authority among departmental officers posted in the sub-division for the smooth running of the administration and for the successful implemetation of the developmental schemes. He can even correspond direct with the Government on routine matters. He is to perform executive duties in the sub-division in respect of developmental schemes. He is to bodies, market committees, motor taxation, passport, renewal of arms licences, revenue duties, executive and judicial (original and appellate) duties, and to maitain law and order.    

 

Tahsildars and their staff :- Tahsildars and Naib-Tahsildars exercise the powers of Assistant Collector 2nd Grade. In partition cases, however, the Tahsildars exercise the powers of Assistant Collector Ist Grade.

 

            Being primarily entrusted with the work of revenue collection, Tahsildars and Naib-Tahsildars have to undertake intensive touring in their areas. They play an important role in the execution of development plans, construction of roads, drains and embankments and in soil conservation and reclamation, in paving the streets, filling of depressions and in attending to sundry matters connected with rural re-construction. They are called upon to enlist active public co-operation for the development work and, as such, render substantial help and co-operation to the Block Development and Panchayat Officers.

 

            Tahsildars and Naib-Tahsildars are assisted by a Sadr Kanungo and a Naib-Sadr Kanungo, in charge of the recordss, at the district headquarters. The Tahsildar, Amritsar, is assisted by 5 Naib-Tahsildars, 1 Office Kanungo, 6 Kanungos, 114 Patwaris and 2 Naib-Patwaris. The Tahsildar, Ajnala, is assisted by 2 Naib-Tahsildars, 1 Office Kanungo, 5 Kanungoos, 95 Patwaris and 5 Naaib-Patwaris. The Tahsildar, ?Tarn Taran, is assisted by 5 Naib-Tahsildars, 1 Office Kanungo, 5 Kanungos, 107 Patwaris and 7 Naib-Patwaris. The Tahsildar, Patti, is assisted by 2 Naib-Tahsildars, 1 Office Kanungo, 3 Kanungos, 49 Patwaris and 4 Naib-Patwaris.

 

            The Patwaris prepare and maintain village revenue and revenue statistical records. The district is divided into  364 Patwar Circles.

 

            The zaildari system was abolished in 1948. Before that, the villages were grouped to form a zail, each of which was placed under a Zaildar. In the field of general administration also, he assisted the Government.

 

            A Lambardar is an important functionary in the village administration. Besides land revenue collection, he is required to keep watch over law and order position in his area and report any breach thereof to the nearest police-station. He is assisted in his work by the village chowkidar. A Lambardar is paid chotra, i.e. 5 per cent of the land revenue collection, which is, in fact, an extra charge on land revenue.

 

(c) Development Organization

 

            The district is divided into 15 Development Blocks, viz. Jandiala Guru, Majitha, Rayya, Tarasikka, Verka (Tahsil Amritsar), Ajnala, Chogawan (Tahsil Ajnala), Bhikhiwinnd, Patti, Valtoha (Tahsil Patti), Chohla, Gandiwind, Khadur Sahib, Nausherhra Pannuan and Tarn Taran( Tahsil Tarn Taran). The minimum number of villages in a Block is about 60. The Block Development and Panchayat Officer is in charge of a block.

 

            The Block Development and Panchayat Officer is under the administrative control of the chairman of the respective Block Samiti, Sub-divisional Officer (Civil) of the respective sub-division, and the District Development and Panchayat Officer at the district level, besides being under the oveall control of the Deputy Commisioner.

 

            The Block Development and Panchayat Officer is primarily responsible for the successful implementation of the Community Development Programme. He is assisted by a Social Education and Panchayat Officer, a Lady Social Education Organizer, an Overseer (popularly known as Extension Officer), 10 Gram Sevaks and 2 Gram Sevikas, besides ministerial Class III and miscellaneous Class IV staff. The other Extension Officers, belonging to the Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Co-operation and Industries, assisting the  Block Development and Panchayat Officer and posted in the Block are the employees of their respective departments. They have been, however, put under the administrative control of the  Block Development and Panchayat Officer for running the work smoothly. This arrangement was made after the introduction of the Panchayati Raj in the State for effecting the co-ordination of the activities of the various departments.

 

(d) Panchayati Raj

 

            The Panchayati Raj is a system of decentralization and delegation of authority to local agents of the State Government and to set up such democratic institutions for the welfare of the  people as may be chosen by them and would be answerable to them. It is a three-tier system which consists of panchayats at the village level, panchayat samitis at the block level and zila parishad at the district level.

 

            Panchayats :- The setting up of Panchayats is a bold step forward in the process of democratic decentralization. A Panchayat is the basic unit of the Panchayati Raj, and the Punjab Gram Panchayat Act, 1952 (as amended up to August 1961), provides for the establishment of a panchayat in every village with a population of not less than 500 persons, and a joint panchayat for a village with a smaller population by grouping it with some contiguous village or villages, so that the population of  the villages, so grouped, is not less than 500. As many as 1011 panchayats were formed, covering the rural area of the district – Verka Block (67), Majitha Block (79), Rayya Block (68), Tarsikka Block (72), Jandiala Guru Block (64), Tarn Taran Block (70), Khadur Sahib Block (62), Naushehra Pannuan Block (56), Chohla Block (45), Gandiwind Block (66), Ajnala Block (119), Chogawan Block (89), Patti Block (54), Bhikhiwind Block (55) and Valtoha Block (45).

 

            Though the panchayats have administrative and executive, criminal judicial, and civil revenue judicial functions, yet the role assigned to them under the Panchayati Raj is one of all-round development, with particular emphasis on increased agricultural production.

 

            The Panchayati Raj is, thus, a pyramidal structure with the panchayat at the base level, the panchayat samiti at the intermediate level and the zila parishad at the apex of the structure. Virtually, all programmes of economic development are to be channelled through this organization.

 

            Panchayat Samitis :-There are 15 panchayat samitis in the district, i.e. one in each block. Each panchayat samiti consists of 16 members elected by panches and sarpanches of gram panchayats in the block from among themselves; two members, representing the co-operative societies within the jurisdiction of the panchayat samiti, elected from amongst the members of these societies; associated members, and the co-opted members, comprising two women and four persons belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, besides the  Block Development and Panchayat Officer and the respective Sub-divisional Officer as ex-officio members. The associated members and ex-officio members are not entitled to vote in the meeting. The term of a member was, in the first instance, fixed for three years, but was subsequently raised to five years. A panchayat samiti has its own Chairman and Vice-Chairman, besides the respective Block Development and Panchayat Officer as its Executive Officer. A meeting of the samiti is held at least once in three months.

 

            A panchayat samiti is expected to make arrangements for the integrated development of the area within its jurisdiction in respect of agriculture, public-health and rural sanitation, animal husbandary, fishries, communications, social education, co-operation, and miscellaneous items, such as organization and management of panchayat samiti fairs, establishment and management of cattle pounds, and the management of public ferries.

 

            A panchayat samiti has three standing committees, meeting of which are held every month.

 

            Zila Parishad :- Under the Punjab Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads Act, 1961, the District Board, Amritsar, was replaced by the Zila Parishad, Amritsar, in 1962. Besides its Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary, the membership of the Zila Parishad comprises two members out ot the primary members of each Panchayat Samiti to be elected by the Panchayat Samiti, Chairman of each Panchayat Samiti, Deputy Commissioner, members of the Lok Sabha, the Vidhan Sabha and the Vidhan Parishad, representing districts or any part thereof, and co-opted members including two women and five other persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The term of the members was in the first instance, fixed for three years, but was subsequently raised to five years. The meeting of the Zila Parishad is held once in three months.

 

            The Zila Parishad has three standing committees, meetings of which are held every month.

 

            (e) General Arrangement for the Disposal of Business :- In addition to the Sub divisional Officer (Civil), Tahsildars, and  Block Development and Panchayat Officers, the Deputy commissioner is assisted by 2 General Assistants, 1 Public Grievances Officer, 1 District Development and Panchayat Officer, 1 Civil Defence Officer, 4 Executive Magistrates, and 2 Assistant Commissioner (under training). Out of these, the Assistant Commissioners are from the Indian Administrative Service and the rest are from the Provincial Civil Service.

 

            General Assistants :- They are the Deputy Commissioner’s personal executive officers and assist him in his executive and administrative functions. They are in charge of the office work. All the branches of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, except the Low-Income-Group Housing, the Minimum Income-Group-Housing, Civil Defence, district Revenue Accounts and Sadr Kanungo Branches, are entrusted to them. They also attend to the court work concerning security cases. The General Assistant II also attends to the registration work in respect of the Amritsar city.

 

            Public Grievances Officer :- He is meant for removing the grievances of the public and expediting action on the complaints received in his office from the public relating to all the departments. He also acts as a co-ordinating officer in the disposal of the complaints of the public.

 

            District Development and Panchayat Officer :- He is in-charge of the work relating to the development, panchayats, Community Development Programme, Five-Year Plans, local development, etc. He controls the Block Development and Panchayat Officers in the district in respect of the implementation of the Community Development Programme.

 

            Civil Defence Controller :- The Deputy Commissioner is the ex-officio Civil Defence Controller of the district. He is responsible for civil defence. He has multifarious duties to perform at the time of aggression, conflict or war. In addition to the other duties, his main functions pertain to the maintenance of the fore-fighting equipment, proper functioning of sirens, digging of trenches, alternative arrangements for electricity, control over vehicles, first-aid, extension of hospital facility by arranging additional beds, replacement of police by home-guards, etc.

 

            In the performance of these duties, the Deputy Commissioner is assisted by a Civil Defence Officer, who has no district duties attached to his office.

 

            Executive Magistrates :- There are four Executive Magistrates in the district. They attend to the court work relating to the security/revenue case.

 

            The criminaal executive work relating to the police-stations in the district is attended to by the Executivee Magistrates, District Development and Panchayat Officer/ General Assistant/ Civil defence Officer/ sub-divisional Officers (Civil), etc.

 

            Assistant Commissioners :-  There are two Assistant Commissioners (under training) in the district. The number of trainees varies from time to time. They also help to run the administration and attend to the court work regarding security cases.

 

            Registration :- The Deputy Commissioner is the Register and, in that capacity, is responsible for the registration work in the district. Contrary to the old practice, he does not hold his post in an ex-officio capacity. The registration work in the Amritsar Tahsil is done by the Tahsildar and a Naib-Tahsildar assisted by 3 Clerks. However, the work in respect of the Amritsar city is entrusted to the General Assistant II. In the Tarn Taran Tahsil, registration work is performed by the Tahsildar and a Naib-Tahsildar, assisted by 2 Clerks. In the Patti Tahsil, registration is done by Tahsildar and Naib-Tahsildar, assisted by 1 Clerk, and, in Ajnala Tahsil, this work is done by the Tahsildar and a Naib-Tahsildar, assisted by 1 Clerk.

 

            At the district headquarters, there is 1 Head Registration Clerk and an Assistant Superintending Revenue and Records who compile the information for the entire district.

 

            Official Receiver :- There is one Official Receiver at Amritsar appointed by the Government on the recommendations of the district and Session judge. He is in charge of the insolvency estates, on the receipt of the application by any erson for solvency, his property is put under his charge and he disposes it of according to the  orders of the insolvency Court. He keeps 7 ½ percent of the proceeds as his remuneration. He also acts as the Court Auctioner and gets 4 per cent commission on the auction proceeds.

 

            Oath Commissioner :- There are 27 Oath Commissioner in the district: 21 at Amritsar, 3 at Tarn Taran, 1 at Ajnala and 2 at Patti. They charge one rupee as attestation fee for an affidavit attested by them.

 

            Notary Publics :- There are two Notary Publics in the district: one appointed by the Central Government, and the other by the State Government on the recommendations of the Legal Remembrancer. The one appointed by the State Government is authorized to attest all documents, wills, special power of attorney and copies of all documents on receiving charges approved by the Government. He is also authorized to translate documents on payment. His tenure of office is three years, and it may be extended for another term.

 

            District Attorney :- Formerly designated as Public Prosecutor or Government Pleader, the District Attorney is appointed by the Home Secretary to Government, Punjab. He is assisted by 5 Assistant District Attorneys, besides ministerial and allied Class IV staff.

 

            The District Attorney and the Assistant District Attorneys are not allowed to engage in private practice.

 

(f) District Committees

            The following District Committees, which meet at the district headquarters, have been constituted to accelerate the disposal of business :

 

 

Sr. No.

Committee

Chairman

Secretary

Monthly Meetings

1.

District Vigilance Committee

 

 

 

(i) Officers

Deputy Commissioner

Public Grievances Officer

 

(ii) Public

 

 

2.

Agricultural Committee

Ditto

District Development and Panchayat Officer

3.

Revenue Officers

Ditto

Officer in Charge Revenue

4.

House Allotment Committee

Ditto

General Assistant II

Quarterly Meetings

1.

District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police, District Attorney

Ditto

General Assistant I

2.

District Magistrate, District and sessions Judge, Senior Superintendent of Police and Chief Judicial Magistrate

District and sessions Judge

General Assistant I

 

 

(g) Other Important Officers

 

Police :- The Senior Superintendent of Police is the head of the police organization in the district and ranks only next to the Deputy Commissioner for the maintenance of law and order. This item has been discussed in detail in Chapter XII, ‘Law and Order and Justice.’

 

            Judiciary :- The separation of the judiciary from the executive was effected from October 2, 1964. This item is dealt with in detail in Chapter XII, ‘Law and Order and Justice.’

 

(h) Other State and Central Government Officers

 

State Government Officers

 

1. Director, Land Reclamation, Irrigation and Power Research Institute, Punjab,           Amritsar

 

1.      Superintending Engineer, PWD (B&R), Amritsar

 

2.      Superintending Engineer, Upper Baru Doab Canal, Amritsar

 

3.      Superintending Engineer, Amritsar Drainage Circle, Amritsar

 

4.      Superintending Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Amritsar

 

5.      Principal, Medical College, Amritsar

 

6.      Principal, Punjab Government Dental College and Hospital, Amritsar

 

7.      Medical Superintendent, Punjab V.J. Hospital, Amritsar

 

8.      Principal, Government College for Women, Amritsar

 

9.      Medical Superintendent, Punjab Mental Hospital, Amritsar

 

10.   Principal, I.T.C. Dayanand Polytechnic Institute, Amritsar

 

11.   Principal, Punjab Institute of Texile Technology, Amritsar

 

12.   Dean of Hygiene and Vaccine Institute, Punjab, Amritsar

 

13.   Executive Engineer, Amritsar Provincial Division, PWD, Amritsar

 

14.   Executive Engineer, Jandiala Division, Upper Bari Doab Canal, Amritsar

 

15.   Executive Engineer, Majitha Division, Upper Bari Doab Canal, Amritsar

 

16.   Executive Engineer, Satluj Canalization Circle, Amritsar

 

17.   Executive Engineer, Drainage Investigation Division, Amritsar

 

18.   Executive Engineer, Bridges, Amritsar Drainage Division, Amritsar

 

19.   Executive Engineer, Amritsar Public-Health Division, Amritsar

 

20.   Executive Engineer, PWD (B&R), Amritsar

 

21.   Executive Engineer, Amritsar Division, Punjab State Electricity Board, Amritsar

 

22.   Executive Engineer, Maintenance and Test Division, Punjab State Electricity Board, Amritsar

 

23.   Executive Engineer, PWD (B&R), Construction Division, Amritsar

 

24.   Executive Engineer, Construction Division No. 2, Amritsar

 

25.   Divisional Town Planner, Amritsar Division, Amritsar

 

26.   Divisional Forest Officer, Amritsar Forest Division, Amritsar

 

27.   General Manager, Punjab Roadways, Amritsar

 

28.   Senior Superintendent of Police, Amritsar

 

29.   District and Sessions Judge, Amritsar

 

30.   Chief Medical Officer, Amritsar

 

31.   General Manager, Milk Plant, Verka

 

32.   District Exercise and Taxation Officer, Amritsar

 

33.   Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Amritsar

 

34.   District Food and Supplies Controller, Amritsar

 

35.   District Food and Supplies Officer, Amritsar

 

36.   District Agricultural Officer, Amritsar

 

37.   District Animal Husbandry Officer, Amritsar

 

38.   Conciliation Officer, Ist Circle, Amritsar

 

39.   Conciliation Officer, 2nd Circle, Amritsar

 

40.   Senior Technical Officer, Quality Marking Centre, Amritsar

 

41.   Senior District Industries Officer, Amritsar

 

42.   Secretary, Zila Parishad, Amritsar

 

43.   Commandant, 33rd BN, Punjab Armed Police, Amritsar

 

44.   District Commandar, Punjab Home Guards, Amritsar

 

45.   Station Battalion Commandar, Punjab Home Guards 131/CN, Amritsar

 

46.   Land Acquisition Collector, Amritsar Improvement ?Trust, Amritsar

47.   Cantonment Executive Officer, Cantonment Board, Amritsar

 

48.   General Manager, Amritsar Central Co-operative Consumers’ Store, Amritsar

 

49.   Treasury Officer, Amritsar

 

50.   District Public Relations Officer, Amritsar

 

51.   Superintendent, District Jail, Amritsar

 

52.   District Education Officer, Amritsar

 

53.   Sub-Regional Employment Officer, Employment Exchange, Amritsar

 

54.   District Attorney, Grade I, Amritsar

 

55.   District Statistical Officer, Amritsar

 

56.   Textile Officer (Marketing), Punjab, Amritsar

 

57.   Additional Superintendent of Police, Amritsar

 

Central Government Officer (excluding Military Officers)

 

1. Textile  Commissioner, Amritsar

 

2. Senior Superintendent of Post-Offices, Amritsar

 

3. General Manager, Locomotive Workshops, Amritsar

 

4. Divisional Engineer, Telephones, Amritsar

 

5. Assitant Director, Intelligence Bureau, Amritsar

 

6. Inspecting Assistant Commissioner, Income-Tax, Amritsar

 

7. Appellate Assistant Commissioner, Income-Tax, Amritsar

 

8. Deputy Collector of Land Customs, Amritsar

 

9. Assistant Collector, Land Customs, Amritsar

 

10. Controller of Imports and Exports, Amritsar

 

11. Assistant Collector, Central Excise, Amritsar

 


CHAPTER XI

 

REVENUE ADMINISTRATION

 

Revenue Administration

(a)

Land Revenue Administration

(b)

Land Reforms

(c)

Other Sources of Revenue, State and Central

 

(a)   Land Revenue Administration

(i)     History of Land Revenue Assessment and Management

 

Early History of the District :- During the medieval period, the Amritsar District was attached to the Province of Lahore and was ruled by the Mughal Governor whose headquarters were at Lahore. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder kof the Sikh faith, was born in 1469, but it was a century later that Amritsar was established as the seat of the Sikhs and they began to add secular interests to spiritual occupations. On the decline of the Mughal Empire, the tract now included in the Amritsar District was gradually taken possession of by the more powerful of the Sikh chiefs and confederacies. But it was not until the beginning kof the nineteenth century that the Sikhs, under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, established themselves as a political force. Amritsar was divided into the Maharaja’s Treasury at Lahore and took from the people as much as he safely could. After the two Anglo-Sikh Wars, the Punjab was annexed by the British in 1849.

 

      Amritsar was constituted as a British district in 1849, with four tahsils or parganas, viz. Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Saurian (now Ajnala) and Talwandi (later Rayya and now the Narowal Tahsil of the Saikot District of Pakistan). The Talwandi pargana was withdrawn in 1869 and only three tahsils were left in the district, viz. Tarn Taran, Amritsar and the present Ajnala. During the first regular settlement of 1852-54, substantial changes were made in the boundaries of these tahsils by the redistribution of estates among them and the accession of estates from the Lahore and Gurdaspur districts.

 

      With the partition of the country in 1947, 186 revenue estates of the Kasur Tahsil of the Lahore District (Pakistan) were transferred to India and included in the Amritsar District. These estates, with headquartes at Patti, were declared a separate sub-tahsil of the Tarn Taran Tahsil in this district. Later on, 67 more estates from the Tarn Taran Tahsil were transferred to the Patti Sub-Tahsil and it was notified as a separate full-fledged tahsil vide Punjab Government Notification No. 3899-R/51/4041, dated the 14th August, 1952. Out of these, 52 villages were returned to the Tarn Taran Tahsil from the Patti Tahsil vide Punjab Government Notification No. 101-SM-56/3177, dated the 25th June, 1956. One more village was excluded from the Patti Tahsil and included in the Tarn Taran Tahsil vide Punjab Government Notification No. 2551-R-IV-62/3463, dated the 26th June, 1962. Since 1854, the Amritsar Tahsil has remained unchanged, except that two villages were transferred to it from the Tarn Taran Tahsil in 1958-59. Some minor changes were also effected in the Ajnala Tahsil- five estates gained and the whole of one and part of another lost in the fourth regular settlement of 1910-14, and one gained during the settlement of 1936-40. All these transfers took place among the riverine estates.

 

            Summary Settlement of 1849-50 :- The summary settlement was carried out by Major Lake in 1849-50. Confused statistics and subsequent schanges in the boundaries left no clear record of the assessment. But this at least can be said that it was based on he records of the collection made by the Sikhs under their system of appraisement of produce and that it was on the whole unsatisfactory. In the Tarn Taran Tahsil, the demand was lenient, but unevenly distributed. In the Amritsar Tahsil, it was noot only unequal but, in many cases, oppressively heavy. In the Ajnala Tahsil, the burden was juast as heavy, but more equitably distributed. Similar was the case of the Patti Tahsil, though its settlement was made along with that okf the Lahore District. Information about the amount of the demand was incomplete, but its incidence on the cultivated area is known to have been one rupee in Tarn Taran, Rs. 2/1/3 in Amritsar, Rs. 2/9/9 in Ajnala, and Rs. 1/14/8 over the whole district. Information in respect of the Patti Tahsil was not available, as it was not in existence at the time. However, it was fkortunate that the first regular settlement came quickly to the relief of the landowners.

 

            First Regular Settlement, 1852-54 :- This was done by R.H. Davies between  1852 and 1854. He was apprently instructed to impose a demand equal to one-fourth of the value of the gross produce. This settlement showed the beginning of a modern approach to the problems of assessment- arrangement of estates in assessment circles, classification of estates according to their fertility, and dry and wet rates of assessment. So far as can be gathered from the incomplete data available at this distant date, the new assessment were a reduction of 11 percent in Amritsar Tahsil and an increase of 7 percent in the Tarn Taran Tahsil. The actual demands were as under2 :

 

 

 

Tahsil

Demand in rupees

Cultivated per cultivated acre

 

Rs.

Rs.       As       Ps

Tarn Taran

275687

1    -    0    -      9

Amritsar

432446

1    -    15    -    11

Ajnala

274260

2    -    3    -      5

Total District

982393

1    -    10    -     1

 

1. Two new sub-tahsils, viz. Khem Karan and Baba Bakala, were created in Amritsar District with effect from april 1, 1970.

 

2. The amount is given according to the old coinage system of rupees (Rs), annas (As) and pies (Ps), prevalent before the introduction of decimal coinage in 1957. A rupee consisted of 16 annas or 64 paise or 192 pies, an anna consisted of 4 paise or 12 pies, and a paise consisted of 3 pies.

           

In terms of the new decimal coins, a rupee is equal to 100 paise, an anna equal to 6 paise, four annas equal to 25 paise and eight annas equal to 50 paise.

 

            Prices, which had been falling while the settlement was in progres, continued their downward trend and it soon became apparent that the new demand in Ajnala Tahsil was too severe. Cultivators began to abandon their holdings and the balances accumulated. In 1859, a revision of the assessment was undertaken and that gave relief to 128 villages and, with the reduction sanctioned by the Chief Commissioner in 1858, permanently reduced the demand by some thirty ix thousand rupees in that Tahsil.

 

            Second Regular Settlement 1862-65 :- the term of Davies’ settlement was ten years and its revision was undertaken in 1862 by E.A. Prinsep, Settlement Commissioner, whose assessment was imposed from kharif 1865. New records and maps were made for each estate, assessment circles were recast and rates framed for each. But Prinsep wrote no assessment or final reports on his operations and his inspection notes were generally based on statistical information and rarely on a personal visit to the estate concerned. He undertook his task with impresion that the expiring settlement had worked very fairly but that its distribution was faulty owing to the mechanical treatment of villages which had been produced by excessively minute classification, and its irrigated villages were too highly assessed owing to undue optimism about the capacity of ells. His broad classification of estates was based on his regarding them as fully or fairly cultivated or backward, and lenient treatment of wells was a feature of the setlement. The assessment was imposed in the form of a soil rate on land in unirrigated aspect plus a lump sum per well. In addition, a water-advantage rate was imposed on the land irrigated from the Upper Bari Doab Canal (which had been opened in 1860) at the rate of one rupee an acre for irrigation in one harvest of the year with eight annas (fifty paise) more for land irrigated in the second harvest. The principle followed in assessing was that Government was entitled to a share equivalent to one-half of the landlord’s net assets, which were supposed to be 50 per cent of the gross produce. The reassessment resulted n an immediated reduction o the demand and even when the deferred assessments amounting to 33821 came into effect ten to twenty years later, the ultimate demand was very little more than the revised demand of the first regular settlement. The actual figures, exclusive of water-advantage rate, were :

 

Tahsil

Demand in rupees

Cultivated per cultivated acre

 

Rs.

Rs.       As       Ps

Tarn Taran

292323

0    -    15    -    8

Amritsar

415315

1    -    10    -    8

Ajnala

242624

1    -    10    -    11

Total District

950262

1    -    5    -     11

 

 

Deferred assessments were imposed on estates classified as not fully cultivated and backward i.e. those in which there was a large area of waste which Prinsep anticipated would come under the plough. In may cases, this anticipation did not prove correct. Land watered by the canal was assessed in its un-irrigated aspect, but a fluctuating owner’s rate or water-advantage rate of one rupee per acre was imposed on all fields receiving canal water for the kharif harvest. If the same field received canal water again for the rabi harvest, it paid a further rate of eight annas (50 paise) per acre. The settlement was ultimately sanctioned for a term of 20 years, dating from the kharif  of 1865, but was actually in force for as long as 27 ½ years in the Ajnala Tahsil.

 

            This settlement aroused considerable controversy and, though it worked well on the whole, had to be revised in thirty-nine estates in the Sailab and Hithar circles of Ajnala where a permanent reduction of Rs. 5338 was sanctioned in 1880. The inelasticity of the water-advantage rate and insufficient differentiation from circle rates in the assessment of wells were flaws in the settlement, but the major difficulty was the progressive enhancements which were in many cases utterly misconceived. Optimism about the potential expansion generated by statistics was falsified by infertile soil which was not worth the trouble of cultivation.

 

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