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Satellite images to monitor growth

- Pictures to pave path for all-weather roads in rural areas

Patna, Dec. 25: The state government will use satellite imagery to assess infrastructure of its key departments and use the data as a ready reckoner while planning.

Bihar Infrastructure Mapping Geometics Oriented Application Model, which has been named “I-Bhugoal”, is being construed as the first step towards having authentic data, on the basis of which “entitlement-based” planning would be introduced as far as creating uniform infrastructure across the state is concerned. The information technology department is funding the project, while National Informatics Centre is executing it.

Some of the key departments, infrastructure mapping of which would be done as part of the project, are health, education, social welfare, rural works, road construction, rural development, minor irrigation and water resources. Besides, the project aims to map habitations so that the planners could have an idea of areas with available infrastructure.

“An advanced knowledge about available infrastructure would help planners in allocating funds for different areas and departments without depending on the demands raised by various departments — a practice that sometimes leads to imbalanced growth and propels regional imbalance within the state,” a senior government officer, who is closely associated with the planning process, told The Telegraph.

He added that the outcome of the project would help Bihar move towards the “entitlement-based” planning regime, which ensures allocation of funds in accordance with the needs of different areas.

The officer said: “The planners would know which areas lack infrastructure to deliver health services from maps. This, in turn, would give the planners an insight in advance while allocating funds to create infrastructure for the health department. The same system would apply in cases of other departments.”

An official associated with the project said availability of information about school buildings would help the election department, because these institutes are used as polling booths during elections. “The senior officers in the department would have a fair idea in advance while earmarking polling booths for different habitations,” he added.

Anticipating the utility and innovativeness of the project, the Centre has shortlisted I-Bhugoal for the national e-governance award. “A central team recently visited the state capital to assess the details and modalities of the project,” said an official associated with the project.

The state government has decided to use the project to create a database for implementing Mukhya Mantri Gram Sampark Yojana, which entails construction of around 34,000km of all-weather roads to connect more than one lakh habitations having population of 250 each in the next five years at a cost of Rs 23,881 crore. The project has to be implemented by the rural works department. The image generated by I-Bhugoal project would have maps of various types of existing roads connecting the habitations. It would also validate existing data about habitations that were generated during the National Habitation Survey, 2003.

“The government has decided to use satellite imagery for the ambitious project, as use of similar technique for having the map of core network of roads for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) proved to be of great help,” a source in the rural works department said.

He added that lack of validated information of the core network had given the Centre leverage not to release funds under PMGSY for more than three years. “Only after submission of satellite-image based core map of roads, the Centre has released more than Rs 3,000 crore funds to the state and more is in the offing,” the source said.


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