Karnataka: Land records to be linked to digital maps

Karnataka is slowly migrating from paper-based to map-based digital records.

Villages in Ramanagaram and Tumakuru will soon get geo-referenced land ownership documents, as Karnataka slowly migrates from paper-based to map-based digital records thanks to the ongoing drone-based survey. 

In partnership with the Survey of India, Karnataka is surveying Tumakuru, Hassan, Uttara Kannada, Belagavi, Ramanagaram and Bengaluru using drones at a cost of Rs 125 crore, which authorities say is a first-of-its-kind exercise in India.

The immediate outcome is that the record of rights, tenancy and crops (RTC) or “pahani”, will not only be updated but also geo-referenced, meaning they will be digitally linked with the lands.

RTC is an important document containing owners’ details, area, soil type, nature of possession of the land, liabilities, crops grown and so on. 

“Imagine life without Google Maps. That’s how it is currently as we rely on maps from 1964 that represent undivided lands. The hissas created after 1964 have manual maps, which aren’t even digitised. Also, RTC and the maps are independents. If a land is bifurcated, we can’t say which RTC has which map,” Commissioner for Survey, Settlement and Land Records Munish Moudgil explained. 

“Now, our drones have flown for about a month. We have to digitise whatever the drones have captured, obtain images and correlate them with our manual maps. Then, the maps will be printed along with the RTCs,” he said. “Once georeferenced, any sub-division (hissa) created will keep getting reflected in the RTCs.”

About half a dozen villages in Ramanagaram and Tumakuru districts, each, will get the new RTCs for agricultural lands. These RTCs, Moudgil pointed out, will be the first ones generated based on a drone survey. “It is truly a revolution,” he said. “All facets of land planning and management will undergo a huge change.”

It was in February this year that Karnataka formally inked an agreement with the Survey of India to take up a technology-driven, drone-based survey. The last revenue survey in the state happened between 1955 and 1966. According to the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, there has to be a survey once every 30 years, according to which Karnataka was to have been surveyed last in 1996. The first phase of the survey is expected to finish in two years. The next phase will cover Vijayapura, Kodagu, Dharwad, Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru, Gadag, Davangere and Kalaburagi. 

“The survey in Bengaluru will start anytime, but we thought we will first finish the rural side,” Moudgil said.

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