NEW DELHI: The Center for Land Governance, an arm of the consultancy N R Management Consultants (NRMC), is planning to launch a pilot project on a range of technologies to map land tenures like individual forest rights, community forest rights and common lands.
The pilot project would be launched in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in a joint initiative by the NRMC, Foundation for Ecological Security, and Cadasta Foundation.
The states have been chosen based on the concentration of forests and tribal populations in them.
The technologies that would be employed in the first phase are micro/nano drones, high-resolution satellite imagery, external survey antennae paired with smartphones or tablets, mobile phones with GPS and dual GPS, and potential combinations of drone and satellite imagery.
The community-led project aims to assess different forms of technology in different contexts to see which technology works best in different forms of lands and their contexts.
The technology would vary depending on the legal, socio-cultural and biophysical contexts of the place where the exercise is being conducted.
“Forest rights requires that the community itself will map and claim it. Some people feel that technology may alienate the whole purpose of forest rights, which is to empower the community and gram sabha. Our primary argument is that we use this tool to empower the community, not to disempower them,” said Pranab Ranjan Choudhury, Vice President, Center for Land Governance.
Youths would be trained on conducting the community-led initiative and would be apprised of the processes of data sharing and data storage after they consent to the process.
The first phase of the project aims to facilitate forest rights recognition through digitisation of land records data.
“It is a welcome step, especially if it is a community-led move,” said Geetanjoy Sahu, assistant professor at TISS.