The project under the revenue department will be implemented by staff at Survey Settlement And Land Records (SSLR).
BENGALURU: Last week, the Karnataka government obtained clearance from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to use drones for conducting a survey of properties in Bengaluru as part of its ambitious but much-delayed Urban Property Ownership Records (UPOR).
The government, as part of a pilot, will be covering at least 30,000 properties spread across Pattabhiramnagar (number 168), Ganesh Mandir (number 165) and Shakambarinagar (number 179) wards.
The project under the revenue department will be implemented by staff at Survey Settlement And Land Records (SSLR). Revenue secretary Tushar Girinath said it is being headed by Rajeev Chawla, additional chief secretary (e-governance), who had earlier helmed the government’s Bhoomi project, which digitised more than 2.5 crore RTCs (Records of Rights,Tenancy & Crops) of agricultural land across rural areas.
Rajeev Chawla told TOI: “…We will start flying the drones this week, and weather permitting, the aerial survey should be completed by the end of the week as we only need to cover around 10,000-odd properties in each of these wards.”
But the drone survey is just the beginning. Once imaging is completed by the drones, which will be operated by Survey of India (SoI), the department will need to digitise the images, which will then be laid over existing village maps to identify various types of land — government-owned, public, private, etc., — and verify if there is any illegal occupation.
Surveyors to visit plots
“Surveyors under the commissioner of SSLR will also visit each plot or land and make a record and determine who the owner is. We are confident that we should be able to complete this process by December,” Chawla said.
If there are any issues with the SoI survey — technical or otherwise — the government also has permission to conduct a survey using a private firm. One company has offered to conduct it for free and is being kept on standby.
Explaining the need for UPOR, Chawla said: “After implementation of Bhoomi, there has been no tampering of land records and citizens are at peace. But unlike with rural/agricultural land records, which were available in manual format with around 10,000 village accountants, there are no proper records for urban properties other than those maintained for tax purposes by agencies like BBMP, which do not have legal value from a civil dispute point of view as they aren’t created under the (Karnataka Land Revenue) Act.”
He said UPOR was first mooted in 2008, but couldn’t take off for various reasons. Another official said that some pilots conducted in places like Shivamogga had come under criticism and people did not accept it, leading to further delay in implementation of a state-wide project.
“…Finally, revenue minister (R Ashoka) issued a government order last year setting up an implementation committee to do a proof-of-concept. Therefore, we are not mapping the whole city. The reason for asking for a proof-of-concept is because earlier efforts have failed; we need to show how we can make this faster and make people accept it. So, once we complete the project in three BBMP wards, the review committee headed by the minister will look at how to include more people in this,” Chawla said.
While creating property records in urban areas, the government has two objectives, he said. First, to ensure that no government/public land is allowed to be illegally occupied and second, not to penalise individuals for minor violations such as not obtaining an approved plan.