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    Liberation and land pooling in Delhi – A dichotomous relationship

    Land pooling is a more than USD 100-billion opportunity for the Capital city and the government’s flip-flop on the policy is not only causing damage to landowners, but also to the economy of Delhi

    Ramesh Menon

    ‘Too many governments, too much governance’. Sadly, that’s the challenge the landowning community is saddled with in Delhi. Governments as well as its agencies are working at cross purposes, thereby inflicting debilitating blows on the potential development and investment opportunity of more than USD 100 billion, over the next decade.

    Take a look at this:

    2007: Delhi Master Plan 2021 notified.

    2013: Land Pooling Policy notified.

    2014: India votes new government to power.

    2015: Multiple misplaced reviews and changes initiated.

    2018: We are still where we were

    It indeed was a paradigm shift when the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) announced the model for land pooling as the preferred model for the next level of urbanisation of Delhi. It was expected to unlock more than 50,000 hectares of land. Data establishes that almost 60 percent of the total land is still with the farmers or traditional land owning community. The balance 40 percent is estimated to be a ‘Non performing capital’ of institutions and high net worth individuals to the tune of USD 6 billion.

    This Independence Day is unlikely to bring any cheer to the landowners of Delhi owing to the apathy and lack of understanding of local issues by the policy makers. Hence, every proposed change or amendment would only rob the Delhi Master Plan 2021 of its credibility as the ‘largest and most profitable investment opportunity in real estate’ for the coming couple of decades.

    And here’s the dichotomy. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which prepared the master plan and zonal plans, has virtually outsourced its strategic policy making responsibility to the NIUA. NIUA seems to be revisiting the policy in totality, which probably may not be in the best interests of the landowners. On the other hand, the Delhi government has announced the ‘chakbandi’ (consolidation) of some villages, which may have to be excluded from the pooling process, till it is complete in all respects. The DDA, Delhi Jal Board (DJB), MCD, electricity department, etc. seem to downgrading the plans more as a ruse to hide their in built inefficiencies.

    Inefficiencies don’t liberate the truth, namely, Delhi NCT has to be developed to accommodate a population of 25 million people over the next decade. The total requirement of housing units would be in excess of 1.5 million dwelling units. The proposal of the authorities to reduce the FAR (from 400 to 200) would make it extremely unviable for the institutional investors to commit funds to this opportunity.

    It is my sense that the policy makers, specially those representing the political arm of governance, are not seized of the extent of damage their flip-flop is causing; not just to the landowners, but also the economy of Delhi. What worries more is that the landowners would exit somehow, someday, but it may be by way of plotting the land into unauthorised settlements, which would be counter productive to the stated intent.

    Do we seek a Capital of India which is home to more than 5000 unauthorised colonies? Would we want half the population to dwell in these shanties, than a planned city? Liberation would mean differently to different segments, but governments should only endeavour to trigger economic activity and enhance quality of life.

    (The author is an opinion leader on the subject of urbanisation of Delhi. He is the founder director of Certes Realty Ltd, and an Independent director on the board of SPA Capital Ltd.)


    PVT LAND OWNERS CAN NOW DEVELOP LAND IN CONFORMITY TO MASTER PLAN

    Category : MPD-2021 News

    Good news awaits the private land owners in the national Capital. In a bid to facilitate planned development of private land in the Capital, a notification has been issued by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) enabling private land owners to develop their land holdings in conformity to the land use as per the Master Plan for Delhi with existing development control norms. The notification has been issued following the directions of the Ministry of Urban and Housing Affairs.

    This is the first time that policy for private land owners has been formulated in Delhi. This will enable civic agencies to provide basic amenities including roads, sewerage, schools and other basic infrastructure services on land owned by private persons as per Master Plan for Delhi 2021.

    Sources in the Ministry said that the policy will be applicable on the private land pockets which have been left over from the planned development, which could not be acquired, land pockets for which acquisition proceedings have been quashed by the courts, where acquisition lapsed as per Sub-Section 2, section 24 of new Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

    “To meet the growing demand of housing, the need of private participation is growing. To undertake development of the city, private partnerships are much needed. The new policy on private land owners will help the government and civic agencies to provide infrastructure as per the Master Plan of Delhi,” officials said. “The new norms will encourage public private participation in housing sector,” officials added.

    “This policy shall not be applicable on the areas falling in ‘Zone O’, covered under water bodies, land pockets falling under ridge, Regional Park, Reserved Forest Areas, Monument Regulated Zones, Lal Dora / Extended Lal Dora, disputed lands and land parcels which are already eligible for land pooling,” the notification said.

    It was envisaged as a public sector led process with very little private participation in terms of development of both, shelter and infrastructure services.

    “There is paradigm shift from land acquisition to requirement of private participation in the assembly and development process. To bring forward this reform, a policy has been formulated to enable the Planned Development of Privately Owned Lands such as private land pockets which have been left over from the planned development, whichcould not be acquired, land pockets for which acquisition proceedings have been quashed by the courts,” it said.

    Source: The Pioneer
    Dated: 9th July 2018


    Planned development of privately owned land in Delhi approved!

    Category : MPD-2021 News

    The regulations of the notification will help in boosting the development work in Delhi and the permission of private development will help Delhi to meet its target of being a world-class city soon. It will also accelerate the process of developing and residential complexes in the city.

    The Urban Development Ministry on Thursday issued a notification enabling planned development on privately owned lands in Delhi. According to the notification, development can be carried out on a private land that has not been acquired and is facing disputes related to the acquisition.

    The notification reads that a private development can be carried on the private land pockets on which the acquisition proceedings have been quashed by the courts. Private developments can also be carried out on private lands that have not been developed in accordance with the master plan and has not been acquired till date and is lying vacant for a long time.

    However, all these development work should be carried out in accordance to the master plan.

    The regulations of the notification will help in boosting the development work in Delhi and the permission of private development will help Delhi to meet its target of being a world-class city soon. It will also accelerate the process of developing and residential complexes in the city.

    Note: The notification in form of planned development of privately owned lands will lead to private developments in accordance to Delhi’s master plan on land pockets that are lying vacant since a long time even after being acquired or turned up to be a disputed as people opposed its acquisition and development was not allowed on it or land pockets for which acquisition proceedings have been quashed by the courts, among others.

    Source: Zee News
    Dated: 6th July 2018


    Notification issued for Enabling Planned Development of Privately Owned Lands in Delhi

    Category : MPD-2021 News

    The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has issued a notification for enabling the planned development of privately owned lands in Delhi. The policy to enable planned development of privately owned lands in Delhi was approved by the Authority in its meeting held on 21 December 2017 and the same was circulated to all the ULBs and other govt. agencies. Simultaneously, in order to operationalize the above policy, the formulation of Regulations for Enabling the Planned Development of Privately Owned Lands” was taken up under Section 57 of Delhi Development Act, 1957. The regulations were approved by the Authority in its meeting held on 19.06.2018 and thereafter the same has been approved by the Central Government for issuance of Final Notification of the same by DDA under Section 57 of DD Act, 1957.

    The following are the salient features of the policy and regulations for Enabling the Planned Development of Privately Owned Lands:

    a. The policy will be applicable on the private land pockets which have been left over from the planned development, which could not be acquired, land pockets for which acquisition proceedings have been quashed by the courts, where acquisition lapsed as per Sub-Section 2, section 24 of new LAAR Act, 2013.

    b. This policy shall not be applicable on the areas falling in Zone O, covered under water bodies, land pockets falling under ridge, Regional Park, Reserved Forest Areas, Monument Regulated Zones, laldora / extended laldora, disputed lands and land parcels which are already eligible for land pooling.

    c. Development on the privately owned land shall be in consonance with the land use as notified in prevailing MPD/ZDP or land use/ use premises mentioned in already approval layout plans/schemes, if any or as specified in these Regulations.

    d. Privately owned lands with pre-MPD 1962 activities / use, can choose to continue with the same activity / use provided that all provisions specified in the Regulations are met.

    e. On above lands with pre-MPD-1962 activities, the landowner can also opt to develop as per the use specified in the prevailing MPD/ ZDP/ approved layout plan subject to payment of requisite charges.

    f. As per policy, a Grievance Redressal Mechanism to address all grievances/disputes that may arise during the implementation of the Policy shall be set up.

    Earlier as per MPD-1962, the process of planned development was based on Large Scale Acquisition and Development of Land. It was envisaged as a public sector led process with very little private participation in terms of development of both, shelter and infrastructure services. The same planning process was substantially reiterated in the Master Plan for Delhi 2001 (MPD-2001).

    Later in MPD-2021, a critical reform has been envisaged in the prevailing land policy and facilitating public – private partnership. Thus, there is paradigm shift from land acquisition to requirement of private participation in the assembly and development process. To bring forward this reform, DDA has formulated a Policy to enable the Planned Development of Privately Owned Lands such as private land pockets which have been left over from the planned development, which could not be acquired, land pockets for which acquisition proceedings have been quashed by the courts, etc.

    Source: Business Standard
    Dated: 5th July 2018


    DDA notifies charges for allowing permitted land use change in Delhi’s industrial clusters

    Category : MPD-2021 News

    Move expected to decongest Delhi’s industrial areas and move polluting units to the periphery

    In an attempt to decongest Delhi’s industrial areas and move polluting units to the periphery, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has notified charges for allowing permitted changed land-use in industrial plots, as residential or commercial or hospital.

    What this means is that existing industrial clusters located in the middle of residential areas such as Mayapuri, Lawrence Road, Patparganj, Okhla etc may now go in for land-use change after payment of conversion fees.

    The change in land-use is subject to payment of a conversion fee. Conversion charges for permitting residential use varies from Rs 14,328 to Rs 24,777 per sq m and additional FAR (floor area charges) have been fixed from Rs 3, 039 to Rs 7,597 per sq m in various industrial areas, a Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry release said.

    These charges are based on circle rates of adjoining residential areas, it said.

    The use conversion charges for permitting commercial/hospital use is 1.25 times of the rates of use conversion charges of residential. The token processing fee/facilitation charges for amalgamation of plots shall be applicable as per notified rates varying from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 4 lakh, depending upon the size of the plots to be amalgamated, it said.

    The impact is unlikely to be immediate. It may take another five years to create new stock.

    “The larger vision is to decongest the core of the city and drive industry to the fringes, push industries to areas such as Narela or Bawana and create more stock because industry is no longer viable in these areas and is also polluting,” explains Ramesh Menon of Certes Realty.

    But challenges remain. These include amalgamation of land. How many owners would be willing to come together? Other challenges include evolving a fresh layout plan, attracting investors and infrastructure relations issues, he adds.

    Most of these industrial areas were developed in the 1970s and over the years have deteriorated considerably in terms of physical infrastructure.

    Most of the industrial areas are located along mass public transport corridors and there is a need to optimize land use of these areas through the process of redevelopment. Redevelopment of such areas is based on certain parameters, spatial planning norms and environment related conditionalities regarding provisions and augmentation of essential infrastructure and services, a ministry release said.

    The central government by way of modifications in the Master Plan 2021 has already permitted residential use (group housing) on any existing industrial unit(s)/plots with a minimum area of 3000 sqm abutting road 24 m. On such plots, 1.5 times FAR of the permissible FAR of group housing is permitted as well as amalgamation of smaller industrial plots and sub-division of larger plots as prescribed for group housing in MPD-2021 and Unified Building Bye-Laws 2016.

    MPD-2021 also permits other non-industrial activities such as commercial or hospital on industrial units /plots abutting roads of 24 mtr, right of way (ROW) and above. These non-industrial activities on such plots are permitted subject to payment of conversion and other betterment levies as applicable.

    The policy also provides for construction of EWS flats which will provide respectable living for lower strata of society.

    A time period of five years has been allowed for completing construction.

    The charges collected will be utilised for augmentation of services, infrastructure and upgrade of surroundings of that industrial area, the release added.

    Source: Moneycontrol.com
    Dated: 4th July 2018


    Land pooling policy is a great chance for DDA to undo past errors

    The proposed modifications to the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) land pooling policy have been widely seen as a game-changer in affordable housing. But to contextually analyse the land pooling policy and the modifications proposed under chapter 19 of Master Plan of Delhi 2021 (MPD 2021), let’s look back to what happened over the preceding few years.

    MPD 2021 was notified in February 2007 (a good 11 years back) with a view to frame guidelines and norms for the development of Delhi till 2020. The entire land mass of Delhi was included for urbanisation, thereby, making it the first 100% urbanised state.

    The land pooling policy was notified by the central government in 2013, with a view to include the private sector in the process of urban development, both in strategic planning, aggregation of scattered small land holdings as well as execution and development.

    Make no mistake — it indeed is a paradigm shift from the process of urbanisation of Delhi covered under the earlier master plans, wherein the DDA used to acquire large land masses, and develop it progressively, sometimes taking decades. (examples: Rohini, Dwarka). DDA was the sole landowner, planner, developer, seller, auctioneer, and partook in every conceivable role. Under the current policy, DDA would cease to be a land aggregator cum developer, and merely remain a ‘facilitator’ and regulator.

    Consolidation of land has been the biggest challenge that the development agencies have long faced while trying to urbanise India. It is a dynamic process, and landowners have forever been influenced by each other, not by the government agency acquiring the land. Any entity that approaches a landowner with a promise of development on the land, with or without a share of the benefit, is looked at with suspicion.

    The urban design form is dictated by the seamless availability of land; the best examples of which are seen in the cities in Delhi NCR. Below is a snapshot:

    Delhi: Piecemeal expansion has led to almost half the population living in unauthorised settlements, with more than 125 sq km of land mass under unauthorised development/ occupation.

    Gurgaon: The government declared the sector boundaries in the master plan in 2006, but the infrastructure is yet to be laid owing to land acquisition issues, though dwelling units are ready for occupation. Even the connecting roads between sectors haven’t been developed.

    Noida: Access to land ensured that gridline infrastructure could be planned, and created. Development of townships/residential and commercial towers was created subsequently.

    It is imperative that the urban form and methodology of a time-bound development of infrastructure is defined, more so in the case of Delhi wherein multiple agencies would be providing services like trunk roads, arterial roads, water, power lines, sewage water treatment plants etc.

    What would be the proposed location and alignment of the trunk lines of these services within the sectors? In the absence of clarity, how can an organised Developer Entity (DE) invest time, effort and money to decide which sector would be optimally efficient?

    That the sector plans haven’t been released yet to facilitate decision-making is a different matter altogether. When would this happen?

    The launch of the land pooling policy is a brilliant opportunity for DDA to undo the shortcomings of the past, and facilitate the development of Delhi as a modern capital of the third-largest economy of the world.

    Is there any precedent in India, where a few disparate private DEs have accepted and executed such a vast responsibility — of aggregating land from the owners, investing capital for approvals, service infrastructure and development without any counter guarantees from the government on ROI?

    “A known devil is better than an unknown angel,” says an old saying. By our interactions with the land owning community, they would have had no problem in surrendering their land to a government agency like DDA. However, when the land has to be surrendered or rights shared or co-developed etc with a yet to be DE, most landowners are circumspect. Is there a trusted, capable agency that would mediate, negotiate and handhold both sides on a daily basis?

    Delhi is already suffering on account of multiple agencies laying and providing services. Landowners rightfully fear that with DDA not liable to provide (any policy document) the services in a time-bound manner, infrastructure would be a casualty, thereby delaying the development and opportunity to monetise their land assets.

    MPD 2021 might be the largest investment opportunity in India for institutional investors to partner landowners to develop a ‘modern megapolis’, and the last for at least a decade in NCR, It is generally understood that unless the services trunk lines are laid by the government, before the re-allotment against surrendered land, the interest levels would be low. Hence, the need for an approach on the lines of Public-Private-Policy-Partnership.

    What is the stated process of ‘acquisition of land for sector roads?’ In the policy document, DDA has specified that the contiguous land abutting sector roads would be chosen for licensing. When would the layout plan of sector roads be released to the public? Would they remain ‘hard coded’ or can it be subjected to change of alignment?

    Our internal research with leading investors reveals that the following factors influence their decision.

    Stability in criterion – Policy making & implementation
    Risk (Uncertainty about outcome)
    Forecasting Risk owing to resistance to policy
    History of market trend
    Investment horizon
    Expected return
    External factors
    Inflation & taxes
    Socio economic political conditions
    Information in public domain & education of landowners
    Sales velocity
    Floor Area Ratio (FAR) has to match the surrounding markets, if not exceed compared to the other markets in NCR.
    The Prime Minister’s vision for the nation talks about affordable homes for all segments of the society, while the FAR numbers are unviable for development of finished products at the price points wherein lie the real demand.

    Said the above, MPD 2021 could become a template for the urban design and development for the future, subject to DDA, the Ministry of Urban Development and other stakeholders contributing towards a ‘partnership driven model of land development’ wherein the dividends are shared in pre-agreed manner.

    And, mind you, the returns can be phenomenal for all.

    Ramesh Menon is the founding Director of Certes Realty Ltd, and an independent Director on the board of SPA Capital Group. He brings perspective on both land, investments and monetisation of real estate assets.

    Source: CNBC TV18
    Dated: 5th July 2018


    Land pooling policy: Public suggestions to be heard by board on July 2-3, says DDA

    Experts welcome the move as a step in the right direction, but say clarity required on how the urban body intends to integrate functions of other government departments

    Public suggestions and objections on DDA’s land pooling policy, which is expected to meet the residential needs of about 95 lakh people besides stimulating economic growth, will be put before the authority’s Board of Enquiry and Hearing on July 2-3, an official statement has said.

    Urban planners and experts have welcomed the move but said clarity required on how the urban body intends to integrate functions of other government agencies.

    “It’s a step in the positive direction to involve the suggestions of the stakeholders pre notification. However, it’s not clear yet on how DDA intends to integrate the functions of other government departments such as revenue, MCD etc to facilitate land pooling. An exercise of this scale cannot be executed without a robust technology support, which is yet to be commissioned by DDA. Urbanization through land pooling is the future and large scale institutional investment, both domestic and international needs be solicited. Hence, it’s important that their point of view also be considered along with the landowners,” says Ramesh Menon, Certes Realty.

    In December last year, the policy was simplified for speedy execution. DDA was to act as a facilitator and planner as against the role initially envisaged for it as a part of simplification of execution of land pooling policy. What that means was that the transfer of pooled land to the DDA will not be required.

    Originally, land pooled under the policy was to be transferred to DDA which was to act as the Developer Entity (DE) and undertake further sectoral planning and development of infrastructure in the pooled land. At the December meeting it had decided to do away with this requirement and said that land title will continue to be with the original land owners.

    “For implementation of land pooling policy, public notices were published in newspapers on January 11-12 for inviting objections, suggestions and observations or views within a period of 45 days from the general public. In all, 734 objections, suggestions and observations or views have been received,” the DDA said in a statement.

    Individual hearing of the persons who have filed their objections, suggestions and observations or views will now be held on July 2-3 before the DDA’s Board of Enquiry and Hearing at the DDA headquarters in Vikas Sadan, it said.

    In December last year, DDA was also asked to ensure single-window clearance mechanism for according necessary approvals for speedy implementation.

    Land Pooling Policy covers the greenfield areas in five zones viz., J, K-1, L, N and P-II coming under the Master Plan of Delhi-2021. To incentivise dense development for effective utilisation of scarce land resource in the national capital, the policy permits enhanced FAR of 400 as against the present 150. To promote affordable housing, an additional FAR of 15 percent is also allowed.

    About 22,000 hectares of land is expected to be pooled which could meet the needs of about 95 lakh people. Land pooling would catalyse economic, social and civic development of the national capital besides triggering substantial investments and employment generation.

    Affordable houses for economically weaker sections to be built under the policy shall be of the size of 32-40 sq mt. Half of this housing stock shall be retained by the Developer Entity to house Community Service People working for the residents/owners of the Group Housing. These houses will be built at the site or at premises contiguous to the site allotted. The other half of affordable houses shall be sold to DDA at the base cost of Rs 2,000 per sq ft for further sale to beneficiaries.

    Issues pending with the Delhi government, such as, notification of 89 villages under the DMC Act, 1957, and declaration of 95 villages as development area of the DDA under Section 12 of Delhi Development Act, 1957, were resolved in May and June last year respectively.

    Source: MoneyControl.com
    Dated: 22nd June 2018


    Farmers stage protest outside Nirman Bhawan

    A group of farmers led by Swaraj India today protested outside Nirman Bhawan, which houses the office of the Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry, against the delay in implementation of land pooling policy, the party said.

    Earlier, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) vice-chairman Udai Pratap Singh had said that the land pooling policy was ready and hopefully” by July-end, it would be submitted to the ministry which would then notify it.

    Swaraj India Delhi State President Anupam tweeted about the protest and alleged that HUA Minister Hardeep Singh Puri got the farmers, who had come to ask for their rights, detained at a police station.

    Responding to his allegations, Puri in a tweet said, I never cease to be amazed by the extent to which people go to spread #FakeNews. I am in Lucknow, & not even in Delhi today. By the way, I regularly meet concerned citizens including farmers, traders & residents in my office. Better luck next time.

    Anupam replied back saying he don’t expect one of the rare sensible ministers like you (Puri) to term everything that doesn’t suit as fake news.

    Anupam also posed questions regarding landholding, development charges and time of implementation of policy.

    In response to the queries, Puri asked him to wait for the real facts on land pooling and advised him not to use social media for disinformation.

    The farmers also pressed for scrapping of the mandatory provision of five acre landholding and development charges in the yet-to-be-notified policy.

    Source: Business Standard
    Dated: 19th June 2018


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