Defence Minister felicitates Defence Estates personnel for surveying 17.78 lakh acres defence land

For their successful contribution in surveying 17.78 lakh acres of defence land using modern technologies, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh felicitated personnel of Defence Estates, in New Delhi.

In total, 11 officers and 24 personnel of 38 Defence Estates Offices including four Assistant Defence Estates Offices were awarded.

Congratulating the award winners, Defence Minister, “Rajnath Singh commended the Defence Estates personnel for completing the exercise in adverse weather conditions at uninhabited remote places, amidst the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.”

He termed the survey as historic and exuded confidence that the clear demarcation of defence land will prove to be crucial for the security and development of these areas. He further added that the accuracy of the measurement of land and the reliable records born out of the survey will save a considerable amount of energy, money and time that goes into resolving land disputes.

As per Defence Estates Office, Ministry of Defence has about 17.99 lakh acres of land, of which 1.61 lakh acres of land is located within 62 notified cantonments across India. About 16.38 lakh acres of land spans across many pockets outside the cantonments.

Further, out of 16.38 lakh acres of land, about 18,000 acres is either state owned or is proposed for deletion from records on account of transfer to other Government Departments.

It is noteworthy that the completion of the survey work of 17.78 lakh acres of defence land has been a significant achievement. For the first time ever, the entire defence land was surveyed in collaboration with revenue authorities of many state governments accompanied with the latest survey techniques.

Use of modern survey technologies

For the first time since India’s independence, Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) used drone imagery, satellite imagery and 3D modelling techniques in conducting a survey of this scale, which has made the results even more accurate and reliable.

The state-of-art survey techniques such as Electronic Total Station (ETS), Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), Drone & satellite imagery were used for precise and time-bound results.

For the first time in India, Drone imagery-based survey technology was used for surveying lakhs of acres of defence land in Rajasthan. Within the span of a few weeks, the entire area was surveyed with the help of the Surveyor General of India, 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.

The use of 3D Modeling techniques for better visualisation of defence land was done in hilly areas, utilising Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in association with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

As a part of the Survey, a project for real-time change detection system based on the Time series Satellite imagery for detection of encroachments on defence land has also been initiated. The pilot test has been carried out on satellite imageries of defence land pockets procured from National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad.

The use of premier institutes

The completion of such a humongous survey has been made possible due to the Capacity Building of technical personnel and officers of the Defence Estates Organisation in association with premier institutes like the National Remote Sensing Centre and National Institute for Geo-Informatics Science and Technology.

Notably, a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Land Survey and GIS mapping has also been established in NIDEM (National Institute of Defence Estates Management) for capacity building of Defence Estates officials in the field of the latest survey technologies.
The centre aims to be an apex survey institution in the country to impart training of various levels to the officers of Central & State Government Departments.

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