Thanks to the initiative of the Maharashtra Settlement Commissionerate, a museum of old maps and land records of Maharashtra, India will be coming up in Pune. Claimed to be the first-of-its kind in the country, the museum will be set up on a 1,800 sq ft of office space on the premises of the Pune district collectorate, opposite Sassoon hospital. Speaking to TNN, State Settlement Commissioner T.C. Benjamin said his department has nearly completed the task of shortlisting the exhibits to be displayed. It has already made a budgetary provision of Rs 20 lakhs for setting up the museum by the year-end. Though the practice of preparing land records was prevalent in India since the Moghul era and was improved during the regime of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Maharashtra, the practice of preparing detailed maps and preserving land records was started by the Britishers. The Settlement Commissionerate has in its possession land records since 1860. Some of the records even date back to 1700 and include a road map of Mumbai. The Department also has 100-year-old maps of peth areas in Pune city and the oldest map of Mahabaleshwar. Besides, the Commissionerate has over four crore-property cards and related land records in its possession. The work of computerising the current land records is nearing completion, Benjamin said. Earlier, the Commissionerate had planned to set up the museum in Aurangabad, but then decided to shift it to Pune, where its headquarters is located. Also, Indapur taluka, on the Pune-Baramati road, had the honour of being the first tehsil in Maharashtra, where an agricultural land survey was conducted in 1860. Benjamin refuted claims that the museum will only interest students and land record researchers. He said it would be useful in educating the common man about the land record system. This is the reason why it has been planned at the Pune District Collectorate, which is frequented by the common citizens. Entry to the museum will be free.