Counsel for the respondents, the Central government, apprised the top court regarding the steps taken towards using modern satellite mapping and geo-fencing in this regard.
In Delhi, satellite mapping of lands and digitisation of cadastral maps (comprehensive real-estate records) has been completed under the Digital India Lands Records Modernization Programme, pursuant to which either high-resolution satellite imagery are to obtained from agencies or make use drone photography, the Bench was told.
Subsequently, geo-fencing, which is fixing reference points along the boundary of the areas selected for mapping by the above means, will be carried out.
Then these newly-obtained reference maps are superimposed with the existing ones, and later aligned with land records for necessary details, the order went on to note.
In the national capital, this will be done based on building plans of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the order noted.
” … aerial photography obtained from the Drone shall be superimposed on the Geo reference area development plans to detect unauthorized usage of lands for construction within the permissible zone. The aerial photography obtained from the drone needs to be verified with individually with the approved building plans by the DDA.“
On geo-fencing, the Court noted how the same would be ideal to monitor encroachments on water bodies, forests and mining areas.
The judges took note of an existing scheme in this regard that has not been used effectively by States, and asked for a status report on the same from the State governments within four weeks.
“We understand that there is a Government of India funded scheme for Presentation on Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme dated 11.01.2016. It appears that there has been very little use effectively by the States and the UTs, for obvious reasons. By adopting the technologies and the schemes of the Government of India the scope of human intervention is decreased and consequently the monetary intervention,” the Court said.