GIS mapping project in India lands in quicksand

GIS mapping project in India lands in quicksand


February 11 2008, T”PURAM – Information on land and property a mouse-click away. It’s what the KSUDP officials dreamt of when the Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping project was kicked off in the Medical College ward three months ago.

But the project has caught the officials in a mousetrap with the consultants proving inefficient and bringing the project to a standstill.

The officials are now considering terminating the agreement, calling off the sample survey and starting afresh, incurring heavy loss of time and money.

The GIS sample survey for levying taxes on property was launched in the Medical College ward in November by the City Corporation and the project was undertaken by the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) wing.

An open tender was called and the consortium ‘Limtex and 3 Eye’ was awarded the work.

Though it was announced that the work will be completed in 20 days, KSUDP officials are still awaiting the sample survey report.

According to sources, the consortium had taken up a similar project in Kaloor South, Kochi, which is also facing problems. The consortium is learnt to have quoted the lowest bids and had agreed to complete it in a time-bound manner.

However, it is learnt that the consortium did not even have a professional team for carrying out the survey. Three teams were formed with a couple of civil engineers and plus-two students to conduct the survey.

Lack of proper planning delayed matters, with the team failing to convince the local people about the survey.

What’s worse, the consortium did not even have an office space to coordinate the pilot survey. When this website’s newspaper contacted the representatives of the consortium at a private hotel in the city, they tried hard to assure us that an office would come up in the city soon.

But, during our later enquiries, we learnt that the consortium had vacated the hotel room and even changed their contact numbers. The KSUDP officials could not help us either.

“We are in a similar position. The company has not risen to our expectations. They are not transparent and not even competent. We may terminate the agreement soon,” said a senior official with the GIS wing of the KSUDP.

With the Corporation and the KSUDP all set to deal with numerous projects with the coming of the JNNURM and ADB funds, selecting consultants with such carelessness can bring about a huge financial burden.

After repeated warnings, the consortium had agreed to submit the report on January 30, but even that has not been done.

The Information Kerala Mission (IKM), which deals with major GIS projects of the local bodies, has already expressed its disappointment over the functioning of the consortium.

That the consortium has not made use of the assessment register (to verify land records) for the survey has prompted the IKM to view the authenticity of the survey with suspicion.