Govt goes digital to speed up land acquisition for highway project

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The process of acquiring land for highway projects is set to get shorter. The entire process will go digital eliminating chances of mistakes and reducing the long time taken for verification of land titles.

The highways ministry has undertaken a massive exercise of hosting digital details of the land of more than 6.45 lakh revenue villages across 668 districts on a portal named ‘Bhoomiraashi’ or compensation for land acquisition. This will be the one-point platform for online processing of land acquisition and notifications as well.

Quicker land acquisitions will accelerate road construction, which is one of the main focus areas of the government for pushing infrastructure development and creating jobs as well.

The ministry has already held workshops with officials of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to sensitise them about the new scheme of things aimed at expediting the process. At present, the completion of land acquisition takes at least one-and-half years. Delay in land acquisition is the key reason for stuck highway projects across the country.

NHAI, road transport ministry and its new wing NHIDCL, (which undertaking works in north-east and Jammu and Kashmir) are the biggest land procurers. Just NHAI on its own undertakes process to acquire 8,000-9,000 hectares of land annually for road development and releases around Rs 20,000 crore every year as compensation to landowners.

The speed of acquisition is likely to increase as the government plans to roll out another mega highway development programme named Bharat Mala.