Isro fires a rocket through BBMP’s property records

Isro fires a rocket through BBMP’s property records
Isro fires a rocket through BBMP’s property records

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Satellite mapping shows 31,349 glaring errors
  • This lake on the right is a building according to BBMP’s mapping of the city
There’s a park which is popular among the residents living near the Domlur-Inner Ring road junction. However, till recently, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) believed that where the park stood, there was a building, and from which it had to collect property tax dues. Similarly, the BBMP has now realised that many of the apartment buildings it believed existed are actually vacant plots.

BBMP’s errors in mapping properties, lakes and parks in Benga­luru, all 31,349 of them, have come to light thanks to Isro maps, a technology that the civic authority embraced in 2016.

The then commissioner of BBMP met the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in June 2016 with a request to support the use of geospatial technology for building /property inventory and property tax information. The MoU was signed in December 2016 and the GEPTIS project was formulated to take up a pilot study in Yelachenahalli ward in September 2017 and later extending to all wards in February 2018. This was the first time in the country that a city municipal corporation had collaborated with a space agency to bring efficiency to its processes.

Thanks to ISRO’s tech, it’s now clear that not only has the BBMP not mapped the land accurately, tax details for some properties are not available.

The revenue staff of the BBMP are yet to review the discrepancy report of the mapping prepared by ISRO in 2018. The mapping by ISRO shows that properties have been wrongly marked on lake beds, roads and flyovers while vacant plots have been wrongly marked with buildings. Details like built-up area and number of floors do no match with the ISRO satellite images.

The Isro findings have shown that some properties have been wrongly mapped. There are vacant plots that have been marked as plots with buildings and plots with buildings have been marked as vacant areas.

— Lokesh M, special commissioner, finance and IT, BBMP

These satellite images by the ISRO have alerted the BBMP that about 20 per cent anomalies exist in every ward. Where there is a park, the BBMP has mapped it as a building. For example, on BBMP’s portal, the Domlur park has been mapped as a building owned by Ramesh and the location has been given as 6th cross, Kodihalli Main Road in Jeevanbhima Nagar ward. It’s plot boundaries do not match with the satellite image. In another case, properties have been mapped on the now dried-up Yelachenahalli lake.

A BBMP official says that the revenue staff will be doing field visits to verify the ISRO images and rectify the issues on their GIS Enabled Property Tax Information System (GEPTIS) system.

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GEPTIS is an internal portal of the BBMP that provides comprehensive mapping of all properties within the BBMP’s jurisdiction. The system has been developed to establish a Geographic Information System-based (GIS) database of properties, streets with ward and zone boundaries. The system helps improve efficiency in assessing expected revenue collection, information on defaulters, comprehensive view of property usage, properties not yet in the tax net etc. BBMP GIS layers have been generated using CARTOSAT 1 (2.5m) satellite data (2008) and commercially available satellite data.

Lokesh M, special commissioner, finance and IT, BBMP, says the mapping was done with the commercial satellite that was available about 15 years ago and in a hurried manner, hence, the discrepancies. “These need to be rectified. We will verify the ISRO satellite imagery and realign the properties to their exact location. I will be following it up and will complete the task of rectifying them on GEPTIS,” he says. The special commissioner had a meeting with ISRO and the revenue officers recently to discuss the findings of the mapping. “All the Assistant Revenue Officers (AROs) and Revenue Officers (ROs) are busy with the assembly elections. Once the elections are over, they will start working on the rectification,” he says.

He adds, “The ISRO findings have shown that some properties have been mapped wrongly. For example, a property which was on 9th Main Road, Koramangala, has been wrongly marked in the neighbouring area on our GEPTIS. These errors have occurred in our system. There are vacant plots that have been marked as plots with buildings and plots with buildings have been marked as vacant areas. These properties will be realigned and we will update our software with the original locations of these properties.”

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