New Delhi: Indian Railways Thursday said it plans to complete mapping its fixed assets like buildings, railway stations, tracks and signals using global positioning system (GPS) by December.

The move will strengthen the national transporter’s ability to check further encroachments on railway land. The Rs38 crore asset mapping project was started in April 2017 when the railway ministry signed an agreement with Indian Space Research Organisation.

Railways recently told the Parliament that as on 31 March 2017, out of its 4.76 lakh hectare land, approximately 862 hectare (0.18%) is under encroachment. Most of the encroachments are in the approaches of the stations in metros and big cities in the form of slums.

A senior railway official on condition of anonymity said, “All these years, we have been using age-old techniques like paper maps for locations. But after the development of GIS (global information system) portal of railway assets, it will be possible for national carrier to identify new encroachment by comparing satellite images of ISRO."

He added that a special application is also being developed by railways’ IT arm CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) to make all the information available both on website and mobile application.

Under the GPS mapping exercise, the railway assets are being broadly classified into three sub-heads - tracks and bridges; buildings and structures; and land.

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