A project to digitize all land records and documents in Chennai has been pushed to the backburner. It was proposed in 2007 and a Madras high court appointed monitoring committee sent a reminder in November 2011 but the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is yet to move on it.
The project, based on studies of similar models in foreign countries, was mainly aimed at making land-use systems and policies more transparent and efficient, ensuring that there would be no loopholes. The HC panel asked the CMDA to digitise all documents to ensure easy access to the public.
A highly-placed CMDA official admitted that no move was taken in this regard. “It was mainly to avoid delays in carrying out punitive measures against illegal structures. All documents, including those relating to land sites, dimensions and surrounding areas in detail, were to be in electronic form,” he said.
CMDA sources said a study would be undertaken on the quantity of documents and the quality of decades-old records. “Technical help from an external agency is a must as it will be a massive project involving lakhs of pages,” said the official. He added that a group of officials was purposefully delaying the project due to political pressure.
In 2001, Andhra Pradesh took up a digitization project and completed the pilot programme, digitizing records based on cadastral surveys, employing modern instruments and techniques. In October last, the Centre asked states to initiate digitization of land records. The National Council of Land Reforms suggested computerization of records, setting a two year time framefor a survey.
Source: The Times of India, Chennai