Is Land pooling the solution to Delhi urbanization

By Siddharth Wadhwa

The issue of acquisition of farmers land by the DDA is a sensitive issue. DDA wants to implement the land pooling policy to consolidate land and use it for developmental activities on the outskirts of Delhi.

The land pooling policy allows the land owners to pool their land for development purposes by DDA. instead of meagre compensation, the owners will get around 48-60 percent of the total developed land. Guidelines for implementing this have been issued by the Union Urban Development ministry.

Earlier the DDA used to acquire land from farmers and develop it for construction of townships, parks, houses etc. Acquisition of land is now a tough task. DDA hasn’t acquired any major chunk of land in the past 10 years. DDA has high hopes from the policy to provide infrastructure to the city and houses for the increasing population.

Under the Land pooling policy land owners have to transfer the ownership rights of their land to the land pooling agency.

The land will be developed by DDA, including the construction of roads, sewerage and electricity connections. DDA will later transfer ownership of the developed land back to the owner.

The areas identified as development zone in the capital are north, west and south-west regions. DDA will ask the farmers who are interested in the policy to transfer the ownership rights of their land to DDA.

DDA will not force anybody. The scheme is purely voluntarily. A farmer can join the scheme either as an individual or in a group. Private agencies are also free to join if they have purchased parts of land.

The land pooling model can be categorised into two parts:

  • 60 percent of the developed land will be returned to the owner if he contributes 20 hectares or more.
  • If the land contributed for development is less than 20 hectares then only 48 percent of land will be returned to the owner.

The remaining land will be used by DDA for development of civic amenities.

After the owner hands over a part of land to DDA, the owner may be allotted a developed land, part of any sector of the proposed township, within a radius of 5kms.

DDA will hold a lottery for returning the land to the respective owners. This will ensure transparency in allocation.

A minimum of 5 acres should be given by those participating in the land pooling policy. This can be at different places. A development charge of Rs 2 cr per acre (estimation only) is to be given for building infrastructure.

Development Charges

Farmers who are unable to pay the external development charges can still participate in the land pooling policy. They are exempt from paying the EDC / IDC if they surrender a small part of the FSI to DDA. A farmer getting back 48 percent of the residential land will get 35 percent land.

Most residential areas in Delhi have been created by cooperative group housing societies. Land pooling policy will also help the private players. They’ll be able to buy the developed land from farmers and construct apartments. The government is aiming to pool around 20000 hectares of land.

The policy will unlock around 20000 hectares of land for development within Delhi. It will cover up the shortfall of land in the capital city. The scheme will also benefit the economically weaker section. 15 percent of the houses built will be reserved for them.

To prevent any delay by the government agency a penalty clause has been introduced in the policy. Houses or commercial complexes need to come up within seven years. They’ll be penalised if they ask for more time.

This policy would bring about a praradigm shift in the manner that Delhi would be urbanised, in the years to come.

Siddharth Wadhwa is a student of Mass communication from the Jamia Milia Islamia university, and a keen policy watcher for the Urbaniaztion of Delhi. He also is interning with one of the leading organizations with core competence on MPD 2021

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