Maharashtra’s town planning authority, the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), has started geo-tagging land parcels in Navi Mumbai under its various plot sale schemes.

The move, apart from helping applicants, will also be an additional step toward efficient digitisation of land records at the sprawling southeastern suburb of India’s commercial capital. With this, Navi Mumbai will be one of the first big cities in the country to initiate the process of the digitisation of land records.

Given the backdrop of unclear ownership and title, most land parcels in India are subject to legal disputes and the issue might take Indian courts a century to resolve at their current rate of progress.

“Geo-tagging of land parcels will help in creating a transparent mechanism and provide applicants correct information regarding the location and other related factors,” Sanjay Mukherjee, VC & MD, CIDCO, told ET. “With appropriate database linkages that will be updated real time, possibilities of inaccuracies and misleading information can be avoided.”

According to a McKinsey India report, developers also face difficulties raising finance as they cannot offer land without a clear title as collateral for loans. As a result, most new housing developments are constructed either on land already owned by the developers or by a few insiders who know how to speed up the bureaucratic title clearing process.

“Geo-tagging of land will help resolve several issues including unauthorised construction on plots that can be tracked on a real-time basis and stopped even before completion,” said Ashok Chhajer, CMD, Arihant Superstructures. “Even the municipal corporation of Panvel has initiated work on this with a drone survey and mapping of land parcels. It will also help bring in more investments from various entities, including global institutions.”

Streamlining this process and revising the law on land ownership should boost competition in construction. Competitive developers are expected to improve their productivity and offer lower housing prices and the sluggish Indian construction market can expand significantly.

CIDCO has been regularly selling residential and missed-use plots under its various schemes. These plots will be demarcated and fenced. Similarly, a panel will be installed on each plot displaying details such as plot number, sector, node, area of plot and even a barcode. This is expected to make it easy for applicants to know the exact location and boundary of the plot of their choice.

The town planning authority has been selling land parcels as per the provisions of the Navi Mumbai Land Disposal (Amendment) Regulations 2008. Separately, CIDCO has also decided to extend the payment deadline to three months for first instalment and to 10 months for second instalment in deserving cases.

This extension will only be applicable to applicants in eligible cases along with delayed payment charges. There is a provision in the Navi Mumbai Land Disposal (Amendment) Regulations 2008 to cancel the plot allotted to an applicant if the bidder is unable to pay the instalment even after the extension.

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