Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Authority has written to the National Remote Sensing Agency

The new scheme would help DDA manage its 77,000 acres of acquired land better`We will assist MCD to curb and demolish all unauthorised constructions in our colonies'

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Development Authority has embarked on a project to have satellite imaging of its land for creating a data bank and effectively checking encroachments. Interestingly, only a couple of weeks ago, Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal had suggested that use of satellite imagery can help in detecting illegal constructions and unauthorised buildings.

According to DDA Vice-Chairman Dinesh Rai, the Authority had written to the National Remote Sensing Agency about its requirement for satellite imaging. However, as the matter has to be approved by the Defence Ministry for security reasons, it has now also followed it up with Mr. Sibal to expedite the process.

Noting that various mapping methodologies are being followed for keeping a tab on land inventories, Mr. Rai said satellite imagers is the best since it is both ``faster and more accurate''. Another unique feature about this imagery technology is that ``it can also give time series with the help of old date which shows how the land has been encroached upon or cleared of encroachments over a period of time''.

The satellite imagery would help DDA manage its 77,000 acres of acquired land better. Of this land, about 1,400 acres is under encroachment at present. While thus far about 1,600 acres of land has been reclaimed, Mr Rai said a meeting of Chief Engineers and the Land Management Department was convened recently and was decided that all the areas would be physically surveyed and ways and means would be suggested to clear the encroachments on 1,400 acres speedily.

To begin with, he said, the approach would be more focused and bigger encroachments would be targeted first. Following recent Delhi High Court orders, he said, the overall atmosphere was more conducive now for such actions.

On the issue of residential colonies where large-scale unauthorised constructions have taken place and entire floors have come up on terraces -- posing a grave threat to the structure on the whole - Mr. Rai said since most of these DDA colonies have been transferred to Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the DDA is not able to act on its own. "But we will assist MCD in this matter and also curb and demolish all unauthorised constructions in our colonies," he declared.