NEW DELHI: Digitisation of land records and online processes have reduced the time taken for notification for land acquisition to only “two” days against earlier norm of nearly 3-4 months, which brought down the period for the government to acquire land for public purposes.
Since the launch of BhoomiRashi system in April, which has digitised procedures for land procurement, the highways ministry has issued notifications for acquiring more than 26,000 hectares till January as compared to barely 10,000 during the entire 2017-18.
Now railways is also set to join the platform for faster land acquisition. The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC) under the railway ministry will follow the model for faster acquisition of land for laying tracks and creating infrastructure.
Earlier, some states including Punjab, Odisha and Puducherry and a couple of oil PSUs expressed interest in the module to cut down the time taken for acquiring land.
The BhoomiRashi portal hosts land details of 724 districts, 6,494 sub-districts (tehsil/ taluka) and 6,57,424 villages.
Against the usual trend of NHAI and the ministry issuing 1,000 notifications annually for land acquisition, in 10 months more than 2,500 notifications were issued because of the online system. “Faster land acquisition is key to start the construction work. Non-availability of land has been the principal reason behind delay and cost overrun,” said a highway ministry official.
“Nearly 7,491 hectares were acquired by NHAI in 2016-17 and another 9,494 hectares were acquired in 2017-18. As against around 1,000 land acquisition notifications last year, there is more than 100% increase in their numbers to accelerate the process,” Leena Nandan, additional secretary (highways), told TOI.
Officials said other government agencies only need to tweak their process and take the help of BhoomiRashi developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) for acquiring land. Different agencies such as railways follow different forms for issuing notifications.
Prior to the launch of BhoomiRaashi, the government used to issue physical notifications, which was more time- consuming. Moreover, there were mistakes with regard to the names of owners and khasra numbers, and correcting them took time.
“Now everything is done online and there is no chance of mistakes as the digital database has details of the land and owners,” said Mansoorul Haque, technical director of NIC at the transport ministry.