Important paper documents in several government offices in Baglung being destroyedThough the government is advocating to make public offices paperless, crucial documents in these offices are yet to be digitised.
Years of poor archiving practice has damaged many public records and documents in Baglung.
A majority of government offices in the district do not have well-preserved records, which has caused difficulties for service providers as well as service seekers.
At the District Survey Office, which keeps the record of cadastral maps showing the boundaries and ownerships of land, many maps are hard to read.
The maps drawn during the survey of 1977-1981 are particularly illegible, which has led to several errors while conducting land transactions.
“The maps are not clear. The work that could be done in 10 minutes takes an entire day. Service seekers often complain about the delay, but we cannot do anything about it,” Krishna Prasad Upadhyay, a surveyor at the office, said. “Conducting a fresh survey and digitising records is the only solution to the problem.”
When Biswas Kumar Shrestha visited the Survey and Land Revenue Office to register a plot of land recently, the office could not locate the required file.
“Land plots at the office are being bought and sold based on assumption and estimation since the records are not available,” Shrestha said.
Bishnu Prasad Sharma, an officer at the land revenue office, admitted to the poor preservation of crucial documents by the office.
“We can only protect the documents from exposure to rain and moisture. But many of our paper documents are being damaged by insects,” he said.
The state of records and documents at the District Administration Office is equally dismal. Important documents are bundled with garment sheets as a way of preserving them.
“Accessing records is a hassle. We have to sift through the bundles, identify the correct one and locate the file that we are after. We can never get anything done on time here,” Dhirendra Raj Panta, the assistant chief district officer. “Many records have been damaged over the years while we also lost several documents while moving office.”
The District Administration Office is currently operating from a rented building. The new office building is under construction.
Though the government has been advocating for a paperless system, crucial documents in these offices are yet to be digitised.
The district chapter of Computer Association of Nepal has been given the responsibility to prepare a digital database in the district.
“We can digitise only those documents that are in good condition,” said Arjun Ghimire, the district chief of the association.
Janakraj Paudel, the mayor of Baglung Bazaar Municipality, said many maps and documents cannot be digitised at their current state.
“We are preparing to conduct a fresh survey to draw new maps to maintain a digital record,” Paudel said.
The municipal office has requested the federal Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation to conduct the survey.