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BMC plans aerial surveys to map illegal structures in Mumbai

The BMC issued an expression of interest on Friday to conduct aerial surveys of Mumbai to identify illegal structures in the city. The move comes following repeatedly failings on the part of ward staff to take action against illegal construction activity

The surveys could be carried out by manned or unmanned vehicles, officials said, adding they could also use satellite imagery and 3D mapping.

VV Acharekar, assistant commissioner in charge of removal of encroachments, said orders had come from courts as well as the municipal chief to carry out the survey. “We will keep an eye on developments via this eye in the sky. This will keep unauthorised developments in check,” he said.

“The surveys can be carried out with planes or drones. This will be the first time that a municipal corporation in India has done such a survey. We will take pictures of the city and then repeat the exercise after three or six months. If there are deviations, we will inform the officers concerned and they will seek explanations.”

Acharekar said the survey would include areas ten kilometres around Mumbai.

The official claimed that cases involving illegal structures always get tangled in court, with the judiciary usually granting a stay. “Once we do the surveys, we will have pictures. Pictures don’t lie,” Acharekar said.

He said the cost of the exercise would be determined later.

Environmentalist D Stalin said, “This is a welcome move and a great idea. This data must be kept online. It will stop the encroachers once and for all. But if they hide the data, then it serves no purpose.”

Earlier, the land record department wanted to use planes to map the state, but the proposals never took off.


1 August 2020

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