The colonial era obsolete patwar system of land records was not only incompatible with the fast changing digital world but was full of flaws, shortcomings and corrupt practices. This conventional system of land records has also made property purchase, transfer and tax collection a complicated process as it lacked the modern-day technological tools for accurate mapping, demarcation, and devolution of property. Similarly, the changing nature of land ownership from agricultural to residential and commercial and rural to urban areas has not only become a challenge for the authorities concerned but also for the public at large. Therefore, the incumbent government decided to digitalize land records by launching the ‘Cadastral Mapping Project’ for transforming the old patwar system into a modern computerized online system.
The upcoming technologies such as geographical information system, data warehouse, and webs are very much helpful in making land records management efficient and easier for decision making, strategy planning and productive modeling. This project would prove instrumental for Inland Revenue generation, easy accessibility of property rights, tenure information, lesser land litigation cases, improved taxation and collection mechanism, land conflict resolution and reduction of corrupt practices. This is another good move of the PTI-led government aligned with the party manifesto to eradicate corruption and increase tax revenue. Similarly, the project would also help prevent record tempering, land grabbing, illegal constructions and recurrent phenomena of encroachments.
It is also helpful in verification, construction, transfer of properties, field surveys for delimitation, geo-tagging and digitization of the properties. Moreover, this project will enable the government of Pakistan to retrieve encroached land. Also, it will be a revolutionary step towards inland revenue generation for the government. As per available data, the geo-tagging/mapping and development of management information system of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) surveys all the unbilled properties and geo-tagged them for bringing them into the rent circle. The project of the ETPB was assigned to the Survey of Pakistan which would be completed within one year with the cost of Rs. 28 million. The hosting and deployment of applications, portal, and MIS on the SoP server is also part of the project.
According to official sources, the Survey of Pakistan has completed 93 percent of the tasks of field surveys, geo-tagging, and digitization of the properties under the project. It has completed digitalization of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) by using Geographic Information System (GIS) under the `Cadastral Mapping. The phase I of the project comprises digitization of revenue records of three major cities: Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and state land data of the country with total cost is Rs. 1994 million. The changes of land type from agriculture to residential and residential to commercial and Kachi Abadi to built-up assists in generating more revenue for the ETPB. Therefore, the ETPB has reported that revenue collection has increased 27% from Rs.1907mln to Rs. 2431 mln. Moreover, as the project would further mature, better assessment of leased/rented properties would improve the revenue, the source added.
According to the sources, the Survey of Pakistan has digitalized a total area of 943 sq km which includes 400 sq km Capital Development Authority (CDA) and 543 sq km ICT rural areas. A total of 70 sectors and 63 societies in CDA and 112 mouza in ICT are digitized. It was analyzed that 1512 kanal area is encroached and 5350 kanal area is varying from CDA layout plans. The project will help in real time monitoring of construction through imagery, acquire land in mouza/khasra, demarcation and provide information about ownership of land and other information on a single click.
This project will also help overseas Pakistani to verify online information before purchase of land in the capital city, identify illicit hinging of state land, encroachment of nullah and forest and stop illegal construction on state land.
It would also pave the way for more precise land ownership registration, maintenance and updates to ensure convenient access to land information, centralized data, retrieval of cadastral maps and better public service delivery.
Moreover, the digitalization of the land records would also enable the government to retrieve encroached land.
Survey of Pakistan has performed comparative analysis of 2008 and 2020 for undeveloped sectors on satellite images and this will save billions of rupees to CDA administration for compensation during acquisition of land.