In a remarkable achievement, the Ministry of Defence, for the first time since independence, has completed the entire exercise of the survey of about 1.61 lakh acres of defence land inside cantonments and 16.17 lakh acres outside cantonments in the country.
The survey has been completed by using the latest survey technology and in a large number of pockets in association with the revenue authorities of various state governments.
”The magnitude of land holding, location of land in approximately 4,900 pockets across the country, inaccessible terrain in many places and association of various stakeholders makes this survey one of the largest land surveys in the country,” the MoD said today.
As per the records maintained by defence estates offices, the MoD owns large tracts of land measuring about 17.99 lakh acres out of which about 1.61 lakh acres is situated within the 62 notified cantonments.
About 16.38 lakh acres is spread across many pockets outside the cantonments. Out of 16.38 lakh acres land, about 18,000 acres is either state hired land or is proposed for deletion from records on account of transfer to other government departments.
Clear demarcation, boundary survey of defence lands and fixing of the boundaries are necessary for protecting the defence land, safeguarding of the title of MOD, updating land records, maps and preventing encroachments.
Towards this end, the Directorate General Defence Estates of the Ministry of Defence commenced the survey of defence land in October 2018.
Modern survey technologies like Electronic Total Station (ETS) and Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) were used in the survey. To further speed up the process, Drone imagery and Satellite imagery-based surveys were leveraged for reliable, robust and time-bound outcomes.
For the first time, Drone imagery-based survey technology was used for the survey of lakhs of acres of defence land in Rajasthan. The entire area was surveyed with the help of the Surveyor General of India in a matter of weeks, which earlier used to take years.
Besides this, a satellite Imagery based survey was done for the first time for many defence land pockets, especially for certain pockets again measuring lakhs acres of defence land.
3D modelling techniques for better visualisation of defence land in hilly areas have also been introduced by utilising Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in association with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
During the last six months, as a result of the active intervention of the Defence Secretary and use of the latest survey technologies, the survey progressed at a much faster pace, which is evident from the fact that out of 17.78 lakh acres, 8.90 lakh acres was surveyed during the last three months.
As a part of the Survey, a project for a real-time change detection system based on the Time series Satellite imagery for detection of encroachments on defence land has also been initiated. A pilot test has been carried out on satellite imageries of defence land pockets procured from the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad.
Geo-referenced and digitised shapefiles are made available to enable quick decision making by officials of DGDE & MoD.
The Association of Revenue officials in the survey will eventually help in reducing boundary disputes amongst stakeholders and would also help in resolving legal disputes at various levels.
Completion of such a humongous survey has been made possible due to Capacity Building of technical personnel and officers of Defence Estates Organisation in latest technologies for Land survey over the years in association with premier institutes like National Remote Sensing Centre and National Institute for Geo-Informatics Science and Technology.
A Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Land Survey and GIS mapping has also been established in NIDEM (National Institute of Defence Estates Management) for capacity building of Defence Estates officials in the field of the latest survey technologies.
The CoE aims to be an apex survey institution capable of imparting training of various levels to the officers of Central & State Govt. Depts. CoE also aims to use SLAM/GIS technologies in better land management & town planning processes.