Brief History

The system relating to the maintenance of land records in Kerala is the result of a process of evolution. It is complex and varied and differs in concept and contest in different parts of the state. This is a result of political and historical factors. Kerala was formed as a result of the merger of height of the erstwhile Travancore Cochin state and Malabar district in Madras presidency. The Travancore Cochin state itself had been formed a few years earliest by the merger of the princely states of Travancore and Cochin. The three constituent units or Kerala had their own district administrative styles and systems which continued to cast their shadow on its administrative systems of unified Kerala.

Because of the political separateness which the component part of Kerala viz, Travancore, Cochin and Malabar enjoyed prior to the merger, the system of revenue administration was not uniform.

The Madras system of settlement was an elaborate one and was based on:

  1. Classification of Soils.
  2. Assessment of grain out put of each class, cultivation, expenses and the cultivators and proprietor’s shares.
  3. Fixation of commutation rates, and Conversion of grain output into money.

In the Malabar region, settlement was done between 1926 and 1934. The procedure followed was the one, which existed in the Malabar system. Lands were classified into wet, dry and garden. This system resulted in the maximum possible revenue for the state.
Settlement operations in Travancore were completed between 1886 and 1911 and in Cochin between 1905 and 1909.

The state of Travancore –Cochin was found in 1949 by merging the Travancore State and Cochin State. The state of Kerala was found in 1956 by adding the Malabar district and Kasargod area and former Madras State and Travancore-Cochin State. Each of this area had its own Survey & Settlement methods.

A brief history of Survey & Settlement is given below:

  1. Year 1712:

    A complete survey and settlement was conducted. The survey was a ‘Kettezhuthu’ Record of “what is heard” and was based on discussions with landholders. The holders were issued pattas after settlement.

  2. Year 1738 to 1748:

    This settlement was confined to the lands belonging to Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple. No measurement of land was conducted.

  3. Year 1775:

    Ramayyan Dalava conducted a complete Survey and settlement. Holders were issued pattas. The nature of survey is not known.

  4. Year 1801:

    A complete survey was conducted. This was a ‘Kandezhuthu’. (Record of what is seen). The tenures were similar to the previous settlement. Pattas were also issued after the settlement.

  5. Year 1817:

    Year 1817:- This was only a settlement of garden lands. Pattas were issued subsequent to the settlement.

  6. Year 1836:

    A complete resurvey of garden lands was conducted. Side measurements were made with a ‘10’ Feet Rod. Rough Pattas were issued after the settlements.

  7. Year 1882 to 1909:

    This is the latest settlement record.

A scientific Survey was conducted and pattas were issued for all the land owners.The last settlement was conducted in Cochin during 1905-1909 following the settlement Proclamation of 1905 and in Malabar during 1926-1934 according to the resettlement Manual of 1930. In all the three regions settlement was conducted after conducting a land survey. The survey records in all the regions were maintained according to the Land Records maintenance Rules in the respective regions.

Subsequently, a survey of Edavakas namely Kilimanoor, Vanjipuzha, Poonjar, Nediyiruppu and a re-survey of Nedumangad taluk was also conducted. The re-survey records of Nedumangad Taluk were not finalised due to large number of complaints. By and large these records prepared prior to independence was in use in the state till the re-survey records which was prepared from the year of 1966 was put in use in many of the villages of the state. The methods used for the survey records existed prior to the re-survey, which was conducted in 1966, is enumerated,below.

The methods which were in force in various areas of the state is given below

i)Tak System or System of simple triangles
Each Revenue field is split into a number of triangles and the sides of the field forming the arms of the triangle. This system is simple for practical. But it has some defectives. This system was adopted in Karthikapally, Karunagapally, Kollam, Chirayinkeezhu and Thiruvananthapuram taluks.
(ii) Plane table system
Under this system of survey, field observation and plotting are done simultaneously. After entering the plane table, radiating lines are drawn from the fixing to the various points with the help of sight Rule, measurements to these points are taken and plotted to scale along the radiating lines. This system was adopted in north Wayanad and South Wayanad.
(iii) Base line and offset system
Theodolite stations were fixed at Village and Khandom boundaries to form blocks of about 50 hectares. The blocks are divided into large triangles and the boundaries of survey fields and subdivisions fixed by offset taken from the sides of triangles. Revenue fields are clubbed to form Survey fields of approximately 2 hectares in wet lands and 4 hectares in dry lands. All the measurements taken are entered on the block sheets.
This system was adopted in the following taluks:-
Mannarkad, Perinthalmanna, Ottapalam, Palakkad, Alathur, Aluva, Devicolam, Paravur, Kunnathunad, Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha, Cherthala, Vaikom, Kottayam, Changanasseri, Ambalapuzha, Kuttanad, Kanjirappally, Thiruvalla, Chengannur, Pathanamthitta, Mavelikkara, Kunnathur, Pathanapuram, Kottarakkara.
(iv) Diagonal and offset system or triangle and offset system
This system is being adopted for survey since 1902. Each field trijunction is connected with the next field by a line called G line and selecting convenient diagonals completes the triangles. Independent framework is provided for each survey field. Field and subdivision bends are offseted on the G lines and diagonals. The diagonal and offset system affords an independent check of a substantial amount of fieldwork done by the surveyor. The uptodate diagonal and offset system is more accurate, less costly and quite easy for maintenance of framework of survey and land records.This system was adopted in the following taluks:-
Kasaragod, Hosdurg, Taliparamba, Kannur, Talasseri Vadakara, Koyilandi, Kozhikode Eranad, Tirur, Ponnani, Talappally, Chavakkad, Trissur, Chittur, Mukundapuram, Kodungallur, Kanayannur, Thodupuzha, Meenachil and Nedumangad.

In 1966, a general re-survey of the state was commenced and the re-survey of 903 villages has been completed and given effect in the revenue administration.