Revenue Survey

Revenue Survey The British Administration in Bengal in general, the Company administration (1757-1857) in particular initiated land survey for the purpose of revenue earning. At the end of Battle of Polashi Robert Clive (1725-1774) acquired the zamindari of 24 parganas starting from Kolkata to Kulpi. He dispatched surveyors to study the land to fix the rent. He authorized Frankland to lead the team, Frankland expired before the expiry of land survey, which was finished by Hog Cameron. The Company appointed james rennell (1742-1830) as the Surveyor General of India in 1767. Rennel made 16 detailed maps of the course of Bengal rivers after surveying the major rivers. Fact remains that, after the winning in the battle of buxer in 1764 and attainment of the diwani in 1765 the Company took formal initiatives of the land survey for realizing revenue. For this purpose an office of the Comp trolling the land revenue was set up in [[Murshidabad|murshidabad], followed by formation of Revenue Committee and ultimately the establishment Board of Revenue. However, the Board of Revenue and the Bengal Tariff Board which were established later in 1924 were entrusted with only the realization of Tax and Customs Duties, relieving them from the collection of land revenue.

However, the Revenue Survey (1845-1878) made an intensive investigation into the social, economic, topographical and most importantly, agrarian situations of the Bengal mouzas and parganas. The thakbast survey that preceded the Revenue Survey operations prepared the basis for a scientific survey of the countryside. Based on the Thakbast data began the Revenue Survey from 1845. According to rules, the Revenue Survey was to be undertaken immediately after the completion of the Thakbast Survey in a mouza.

The main objectives of the Revenue Survey were to (a) ascertain demarcation of village and estate boundaries and prepare accurate pargana maps showing these boundaries; (b) enumerate the topographical details; (c) compile such statistical data as may be used profitably for administrative purposes; (d) make scaled maps of each pargana (usual scale 4' = 1 mile); and (e) in some cases, make field to field (khasra) survey of mouzas. Pargana was the unit of the Revenue Survey maps and other information. On the pargana maps were dotted seventy survey items to indicate which included city, town, village, deserted village, hatbazar, pucca and katcha houses, temples and mosques, manufacturing centres, footpaths and roads, creeks and rivers, marshlands, bridges and culverts, cultivated and uncultivated lands, forest lands, Hindu and Muslim population, and vegetation. The Revenue Survey maps are now preserved at the British Library (Oriental Records). The copies of the maps are also preserved, but very irregularly, at the various Collectorate Record Rooms of old districts.

The Company proceeded to settle the land revenue payments by a person who possess a vast land under five-year arrangement, known as Five-year Settlement. After few years it was observed that the payment being heavier some are not paying, the arrangement extended up to Ten year. After the failure of ten years settlement, the Company, during the tenure of Lord Cornowalis (1738-1805) the vast land owners were brought under the settlement permanently known as Permanent Settlement of 1793. The concept of land survey system took a formal shape under in 1888 under Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885 which continued until the end of British Rule in India in 1947. The government of Pakistan continued it in a different format under the Estate Acquisition Act, 1950. During the last five decades of Bangladesh land survey system has been developed and reformed to large extent. [Sirajul Islam and Muhammad Abdul Mazid]

See also survey and settlement operation.