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Maharashtra set to kick off biggest land survey exercise using drones

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on August 05, 2018 Published on August 05, 2018

Statewide exercise to be completed in three years

The use of drones by the Maharashtra government for administrative, development and surveillance is on the rise. From tracking flood water levels to providing a bird’s eye view of industrial estates to investors, drones are finding numerous applications.

The State government will soon launch a ₹346-crore land survey project in which drones will play a pivotal role.

40,000 villages

The Settlement Commissioner and Director of Land Records of Maharashtra S Chockalingam told BusinessLine that the State government, along with the Survey of India, had initiated a project, which will survey about 1.20 lakh hectares using drones. In three years, 40,000 villages will be extensively surveyed using drones.

Even if current methods with Electronic Total Stations (ETS) are used, it will take 30 years to survey such a big area. With drones, a team would be able to cover two villages daily and in three years all the villages would be surveyed, he said.

ETS is a field instrument for surveying of land, which establishes maps and boundaries for landowners.

Chockalingam said the survey for agriculture land was first conducted by the British government in the pre-Independence era for assessing land revenues across the country, expect the North-East regions. However, rocky land parcels, which are unfit for cultivation were never surveyed, because there was no revenue stream for such lands. It was only considered for construction of houses.

But today, such rocky lands are very valuable and can be monetised by the landowners. Another advantage is that the gram panchayats will get accurate property registers. For the larger village, which is getting transformed into towns and such surveys will also come in very handy for preparing the development plans, he said.

Chockalingam said that in Maharashtra such infertile lands are classified as Gaothan. Therefore the project would be one of the largest Gaothan surveys in the country after independence. Earlier, Gaothan surveys were always carried but always in bits and pieces, never across the State.

Chockalingam added that Survey of India will procure the drones, survey the lands, process the images and then hand over the data to the Settlement Commissioner office. Out of the total project cost, about ₹75 crore would be required for drones and supporting equipment. Industries Minister of Maharashtra, Subash Desai informed that drones are being used by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) for tracking flood waters and even by remotely showing industrial lands to potential investors.

Drone efficiency

Drone Services Company, based out of Chennai, Zupa Drones is looking at a number of opportunities from Maharashtra.

Managing Director of the company Sai Pattabiram said the drone-based survey is much faster and cheaper over traditional methods. Recently, Zupa had covered 50 square km of area in Chhattisgarh for a mining survey in less than three weeks. Trade sources are saying that the Maharashtra government is also looking at using drones for surveying and project monitoring of the Maharashtra Samruddhi Super Communication Expressway, which will open up new opportunities for the company, he said.

Published on August 05, 2018
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