Defence Ministry surveys its land, takes measures for its protection

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry, which has conducted the first-ever digital survey and documentation of its lakhs of acres of its land holdings across the country, has now begun specialised training for capacity-building of technical personnel and officers of the Defence Estates Organisation, to protect its land from encroachment or other misuses, officials said.

Modern survey technologies like Electronic Total Station (ETS) and Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) were used in the survey, and to further speed up the process, drone and satellite imagery were leveraged for reliable, robust and time-bound outcomes.

“The entire exercise of survey of about 1.61 lakh acres of defence land inside cantonments and 16.17 lakh acres outside cantonments (total 17.78 lakh acres) survey has been completed. It is a remarkable achievement since, for the first time after independence, entire defence land has been surveyed by using 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 Defence Ministry said.

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For the first time, drone imagery-based technology was used for survey of lakhs of acres of defense 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, 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 the hilly areas have also been introduced by utilising Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in association with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

As per the records maintained by Defence Estates Offices, the Ministry of Defence owns large tracts of land admeasuring about 17.99 lakh acres out of which approximately 1.61 lakh acres is situated within the 62 notified Cantonments and about 16.38 lakh acres are spread across many pockets outside the Cantonments. Out of 16.38 lakh acres, about 18,000 acres is either state hired land or is proposed for deletion from records on account of transfer to other government departments,

The magnitude and location of land holdings and association of various stakeholders make the management of defence land not an easy task to maintain, so the Ministry had decided to establish a Centre of Excellence for this purpose only.

‘The Defence Minister, while inaugurating the Centre of Excellence during last month, exhorted the DGDE to continue to excel in the field survey and building capacity in using GIS based technologies. The Centre of Excellence on Land Survey and GIS mapping has been established in NIDEM (National Institute of Defence Estates Management) for capacity building of defence estates officials in the field of latest survey technologies in association with premier institutes like the National Remote Sensing Centre and the National Institute for Geo-Informatics Science and Technology. The CoE aims to be an apex survey institution capable of imparting training of various levels to the officers of Central and state government departments. CoE also aims to use SLAM/GIS technologies in better land management & town planning processes, the ministry said.

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