Land, being the costliest asset in realty, has often been at the epicentre of fights, property crimes and frauds. In the absence of any effective land record maintenance system, one of the biggest challenges facing India has been the land ownership issue. For example, a request for land information which is 100 years old, from a family involved in a dispute, will surely make life miserable for official bookkeepers in revenue and municipal departments.
But the scenario is changing. State governments, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Haryana, have gone beyond expectations and have digitised their entire land records through GIS-based mapping and land use information system. These states, with the help of ISRO’s high-resolution satellite imagery, GPS and GIS technology, have been exhaustively mapped. In addition, on a longitude-versus-latitude basis, a property’s exact location has also been nailed. In fact, this system has started helping states to scale down land ownership disputes for government-funded infrastructure projects too.
For example, the revenue department in Maharashtra is now in possession of land records which are 150 years old. Here, the department took the help of satellite mapping and purchased images from organisations such as the Maharashtra Remote Sensing Applications Centre. To make it more authentic, the satellite maps have been superimposed on the actual maps available to note the differences.
In Gurgaon, land records since 1957 are available to citizens, with details such as the name of the owner, property location, and mutation information, with the help of GIS-based mapping. Here, the Gurgaon administration has done the imaging of the project with the help of Science & Technology Park, Pune, and the digital reference points that are connected were managed by Haryana Space Application Centre. The district’s information and technology department carried out the data collection process.
Karnataka’s Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has made available land records of over 5,000 properties. One can access BBMP website data about properties such as basic details, lease details, BDA details, survey and settlement records, fencing, property registration, orders and approvals, renewals, litigation and lease payment details. Till now, the civic body has generated Property ID (PID) numbers for 3,656 properties.
Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has introduced a Web-based geographical land use information system. It offers a variety of information including list of notified areas, locations identified as IT corridors and places falling under MRTS in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA).
The new Web-based GIS feature has made things simpler for CMDA. By keying in the survey number, users can access all information on the classification zone details of the site, like primary residential, mixed residential, institutional and industrial. Users can get further information on the type of constructions allowed in their respective zones.
The feature also has tools listing pockets falling under the Coastal Regulatory Zone, artificial recharge area, Red Hills Catchment Area, IAF, Outer Ring Road, Green Belt, Pallikaranai Swamp Area, and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), where there are restrictions on constructions.
Through the new feature, a user can double-check the official land use map, which protects him from possible claims from land developers. At times, buyers land up in a soup over properties, where building activities are not allowed. For instance, NRIs planning to purchase properties in Chennai can verify the land use zone, sitting overseas.
Here, the Council’s lead partner, Thomson Reuters, has solutions to offer that will certainly help tackling, recording and tracking the ownership of property.
Its Aumentum product has four components. First is land administration, which has a registration component by having a real-time link with geospatial data.
Second is valuation, which automates the process that determines the value of property. Third is the administrative component, which serves to administer the legal aspects of the valuation. And the last component is made up of billing and collection centres.
The company has implemented this solution in Cape Town, South Africa. Once it rolled out the system, litigations went down by 60 per cent. The rollout started in 2006 and went online in 2009. Before implementation, 807 people were engaged in generating valuation. Now it is done by only 179 people.