By June, six states will have maps 100 times more detailed – ET RealEstate

NEW DELHI: By mid-year, six states – Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka – will have maps 100 times more detailed than existing ones. And by the end of the year, the Survey of India (SOI) will wrap up the first leg of its project to create high-resolution maps for nine states in the first national cartographic update in 16 years.

“By June, we expect to map six states. Three others, we hope to map by the end of the year,” former Surveyor General of India Lt Gen Girish Kumar (retired), who has been overseeing the project, said. The latter includes Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. About 23,000 villages have been covered so far. The project will cover all states eventually but timelines have been difficult to estimate for the rest because of the Covid-induced gap in operations.

After Independence, official maps in India used a 1:63,000 scale (1cm on the map represented 630m on the ground) for a few years. In 1958, the scale was tightened to 1:50,000. Now, after all these years, the scale will be sharpened further to 1:500, a straight 100-fold increase in detail.

And it comes with a massive technology upgrade. So far, SOI had been using Cartosat satellites and optical devices mounted on aircraft to capture images and develop maps – those could only capture objects larger than 100m x 100m in size. Now, SOI has switched to drone-based mapping and optical airborne high-resolution satellite imagery. “We had 180 optical drones and have ordered 300 more,” Kumar said. The new maps can capture objects as small as 1m x 1m.

“It means that official maps will show everything from houses to offices and, for instance, the smallest landmark in a remote village,” an SOI official said. How would it be different from Google Maps then? “We are accountable by law. Google Maps can’t be used in a legal dispute. Besides, positional accuracy is not guaranteed by digital maps.”

The last topographical survey of India was completed in 2005. That database is still being used by all government agencies – the National Highways Authority of India, the Archaeological Survey of India, Census of India, mining, defence, and so on. An SOI official said the update is important because it will help address inter-state border disputes, flood forecasting, rural property rights, urban planning, public asset management and commercial activities around natural formations like rivers, drains, mountains or deserts.

“The focus will be dispute resolution and creation of land record databases under our programme Svamitva,” said secretary, department of science and technology secretary, Ashutosh Sharma. Besides, security agencies, police, paramilitary forces, and strategic and border security agencies will also use these detailed maps and data.

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Manesar civic body to start mapping of its land this week – ET RealEstate

GURUGRAM: The Municipal Corporation of Manesar (MCM) will this week start demarcation of land under its jurisdiction to check the extent of encroachment. A meeting of the new team of MCM was recently chaired by municipal commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh to review the status of work.

“We have completed the mutation of land under MCM. A meeting was held recently to track the progress of development work in the corporation’s areas and we were directed to start the land demarcation process. It will start this week. Our patwaris are going from village to village to look for encroachment on MCM land. But only after we start the demarcation procedure will we know the extent of encroachment on government land,” said Hariom Attri, the district revenue officer at MCM.

Officials said boundary walls would be constructed to protect the government land from encroachment. Moreover, the MCM team has also been directed to expedite their work on the ground.

“The development branch was told to prepare detailed project reports of the work done in Manesar. The horticulture department was asked to check the condition of parks and ascertain their infrastructure requirement. The zonal taxation officer was instructed to remove illegal hoardings across the area. The sanitation department has been told to submit their requirement of its workers,” said a senior MCM official.

Meanwhile, the process to collect records from villages that have now come under the new corporation is nearly complete as a majority of villages have submitted their documents.

“Our teams have started a survey to check illegal hoardings. After the survey is complete, we will remove these hoardings and take action against violators accordingly. Most of these illegal advertisements are in urban areas and around sectors with urban population,” said Dinesh Kumar, superintendent taxation-cum-zonal taxation officer. It was in November last year that the chief minister had announced that Manesar would have a new corporation. According to records, the new civic body is expected to generate a revenue of Rs 74 crore annually.

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Haryana panel orders survey of ‘illegal’ Aravali farmhouses – ET RealEstate

CHANDIGARH: Haryana state information commission has ordered the principal secretaries of the town and country planning and the forest and wildlife departments to conduct a survey of the Aravali area, especially of the 60 farmhouses constructed in alleged violation of rules, and also document the action taken by the state government.

The commission has also asked managing director of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN), Panchkula to conduct a survey of the Aravali area, specifically these 60 farmhouses, and furnish complete details of the electricity connections provided in the area.

The commission passed the order on January 15 on hearing an appeal filed by senior Haryana bureaucrat Ashok Khemka.

The order said, “The commission recommends that the principal secretary, Haryana town and country planning department, Chandigarh; principal secretary, forest and wildlife department conduct a survey of the Aravali area —specifically the 60 farm houses (details of which has been provided by the appellant) and furnish complete details of all illegal constructions in the area…”

Submit report on ‘illegal’ farmhouses in month: Panel

This is to be done, according to the commission order, “so that the public can access the facts about the encroachers of the Aravali land under Section 4 and 5 of Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, which has been constructed without taking the CLU from the town country planning department and also to take the action against these farm houses as per law.” Passing the order in exercise of its powers conferred under Section 25(5) of the RTI Act, 2005, the information commission asked both the departments to complete the exercise preferably within one month and submit the report to it.

In its detailed order asking the departments of town and country planning and UHBVN, the SIC observed that the Haryana minister’s reply in the Vidhan Sabha clearly acknowledges that there are 60 ‘illegal’ farm houses in the Aravalli region under discussion. “However, the public authority blatantly denies any knowledge of these encroachments, willfully contradicting the minister’s reply in the Vidhan Sabha. The RTI Act not only gives freedom to the citizens of India to access information but is also a tool to ensure transparency and accountability of public servants. The commission frowns upon this shameless disregard for accountability and the deliberate attempt to keep conceal/misrepresent facts,” observed the commission.

Khemka, through an RTI application dated February 28, 2020 had sought information from additional chief secretary, Haryana urban local bodies department, about the names of owners of the 60 farm houses in the Aravalis in Faridabad and Gurugram districts.

His application was in reference to a reply given by state forest minister Kanwar Pal Singh in the state assembly responding to a starred question by BJP MLA Seema Trikha (Badkhal) on February 27, 2020 about illegal construction in the Aravalis that 50 farm houses had been built in Faridabad and 10 farm houses in Gurugram. He also replied in negative to another part of this question that had asked whether the owners of these farm houses had taken any permission/clearance from the government.

The state public information officer (SPIO) of the urban local bodies department transferred the RTI application to the SPIO, office of director, town and country planning department on March 6, 2020. The RTI application was then forwarded to the SPIOcum-district town planner (enforcement), Gurugram on May 11, 2020. The third SPIO has not provided the requisite information till date.

The first appeal was made on August 31, 2020 but the first appellate authority too did not respond. In his appeal before the SCI, Khemka argued that by not supplying the information, the department was trying to protect the owners of illegally-constructed farm houses in an eco-fragile region.

He requested the SIC to direct the SPIO to furnish complete information at the earliest and action as per provisions of the RTI Act.

After hearing Khemka’s appeal, the SIC on December 8, 2020 had directed the SPIOscum-DTP (enforcement) of Gurgaon and Faridabad to furnish complete information within one week.

However, when the matter came up for hearing before the SIC on January 15, Khemka told the SIC that the information provided by the SPIO was designed to mislead, delay and obfuscate. He urged the SIC to direct the SPIO to furnish complete details and to take action for delay in providing the information.

The matter has now been adjourned for March 10 for next hearing.

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Haryana CM directs officials to prepare scheme for rehabilitation of slums – ET RealEstate

CHANDIGARH: Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar directed officials on Thursday to prepare a comprehensive scheme for the rehabilitation of urban slums in Haryana to take forward the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure ‘housing for all’ by 2022, according to a statement.

Under the scheme, residential flats would be provided to the slum dwellers at affordable prices. To begin with, Faridabad and Gurgaon are proposed to be taken up under the scheme, the statement said.

Khattar, who was presiding over a meeting with officials regarding ‘housing for all’, said the scheme would be rolled out subsequently in other big cities of the state.

The state government’s goal is to provide affordable housing facilities to the entire slum population residing in urban areas, Khattar said, adding that the rehabilitation scheme would be prepared by the Department of ‘Housing for All’.

Under this scheme, it will be ensured that the sites for the construction of flats are suitably located within the city and the slum dwellers are shifted to residential flats with their consent. There are a large number of slum dwellers in the state who are ready to shift in constructed dwelling units, according to Khattar.

The chief minister said the flats to be constructed under the scheme would be given to the slum dwellers at affordable prices, which could be paid by them in instalments. He added that the state government could also arrange loans through banks so as to facilitate payment by the beneficiaries.

He directed the landholding departments to conduct a survey to assess the area and number of potential beneficiaries for the scheme.

Among those present in the meeting included Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan, D S Dhesi, chief principal secretary to the chief minister; and V Umashankar, principal secretary to the chief minister.

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