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The Maharashtra state Government is likely to sanction 40 drones to conduct the aerial survey of land in the rural areas. According to the sources, this sanction will be granted by the end of this month as these drones will prove beneficial to prepare the property cards of approximately 39,000 villages in the state.

S Chockalingam, State settlement commissioner informed the media that the drones will map the land both horizontally and vertically in order to reach the maximum level of accuracy. He further said that these maps can be further used to plan water and drainage system. In addition to the same, S Chockalingam said that the work for marking boundary is likely to be completed by the month-end followed by the start of a survey.

The plan to conduct an aerial survey was approved prior to the general assembly elections but work on the same was put on hold due to the enforcement of code of conduct. The officials of state settlement Commissionerate informed that they wish to fasten the work speed of the survey because the state will go into the assembly elections in October most probably.

The aerial survey is planned to be conducted in a phased-manner for three years and the three villages in Pune and Aurangabad will be mapped in the first phase, an official said. The cost of Rs.373-crore is likely to be incurred for this mapping project as it will provide property cards to all the residential and other properties in the rural areas.

The Maharashtra state’s two-third population will come under the mapping area as approval is given by the state cabinet in the last year. In 2018, the Survey of India [SoI] carried out a pilot project in the Sonori village in Pune’s Purandar taluka while using the drones to map the residential areas.

However, the survey of rural areas is carried out once they reach a population of 2,000. Only 3,931 of the more than 43,000 villages in the state Maharashtra have been surveyed in order to differentiate between the privately-owned and government properties.

The residents of 39,733 villages don’t even have official ownership records and the only documents they have are the tax receipts issued to them by the gram panchayats. Thus, the banks are not keen to grants loans on these properties as the unclear property titles are the reason for disputes.

The survey work will begin in all the six revenue divisions and either one or more than one village will be mapped correctly. The state government sanctions 40 drones as they aim to complete the mapping of three villages on a per day basis.

One of the officials said that the project is likely to be self-sustaining as it will recover the cost from the property owners as a charge for grant ownership documents that is also known as the sanads.