West Bengal will allow online registration of properties in view of the prevailing social distancing norms and issue provisional registration certificates, State Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha has said.

A 20 per cent discount on registration charges has been announced to encourage online registrations. West Bengal is likely the first State to allow e-registration of title deeds.

According to Sinha, people can submit or e-mail scanned documents and “property deeds” to the finance department. They will be cleared on a case-to-case basis.

“One also requires biometrics for registration. But, at the moment, this is not possible. So to keep the process on, we are asking people to submit scanned documents, against which temporary registration certificates will be issued. Biometrics will be taken when the situation normalises. As of now, these provisional certificates will be considered as valid,” he said.

The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Lockdown relaxation

The State government on Thursday allowed sweetmeat shops to stay open for eight hours from 8 am as against the four-hour window they previously had.

Wastage of milk was an issue which prompted the State government to allow sweetmeat shops to open a few days into the first phase of the lockdown.

Over the last seven days, the State government has allowed the reopening of jute mills and tea estates with 15 per cent and 25 per cent of the workforce, respectively.

Warehouse and cold storage operations will also resume, while harvesting is expected to begin. Procurement of foodgrains is likely to be done at the farmers’ doorstep by placing requests through a government-sanctioned mobile application. This app is likely to go live soon, sources said.

In yet another exemption, industrial units and clusters can apply to the Chief Secretary’s office for resumption of operations, while maintaining social distancing norms.

Meanwhile, West Bengal reported 24 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths over the last 24 hours. As on April 16, there are 144 active Covid19 cases 10 with deaths reported.