With issue of acquisition of farmers’ land by the government agencies is getting sensitive, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is implementing the land pooling scheme to acquire land for developmental activities in the outer part of the national capital including to build residential colonies.
Under the land pooling policy, landowners can pool their land for development by DDA. But instead of compensation, the owners will get 48-60 per cent of the land back after the authority has set up the infrastructure. The Union Urban Development Ministry recently notified operational guidelines for implementing the policy, which is also part of the master plan for Delhi 2021 that aims to build 25 lakh housing units in 20,000 hectares of land.
Earlier, the DDA, like any other urban development body, used to acquire farmers’ land and develop it for purposes like constructing houses, parks or any other commercial activity. However, acquisition of land has become a tough task and for the last 10 years, the DDA did not acquire any major portion of land in the capital. To develop infrastructure in the city and provide houses to the bludgeoning population, the DDA is keeping high hopes on the land pooling policy.
What is land pooling policy? Under this, land owners – either individuals or groups – have to transfer ownership rights of their land to land pooling agency, which is DDA in Delhi.
The DDA will develop the land, including constructing roads, sewerage and electricity connections and later transfer the ownership of the part of the developed land to its owners. After getting the developed land, the land owners have to either build houses or commercial complexes as per the stipulations of mater plan.
The policy is applicable in 89 revenue villages in the capital, mainly north, west and south-west region as these areas identified as development zone for building houses and other commercial activities. In these villages, the government (DDA) will ask the interested farmers to join the land pooling scheme by transferring the ownership rights of their land to the DDA.
The farmer can individually join the scheme with DDA or by forming a group. Private developers can also join the scheme if they had already purchased the land. However, DDA will not force anyone to join the scheme and it is purely voluntarily.
There are two categories of the land pooling model – 1) If a developer or a farmer owns 20 hectares or more, the DDA will develop and return 60 per cent of the land to owners; 2) If a developer or a farmer’s `land parcel’ is less than 20 hectare, the DDA will return 48 per cent of land to them. The DDA will utilise the remaining land for development of civic facilities, building houses for economically weaker sections etc.
However, after the farmer or developer hand over their land to DDA, they may not get same land after development. Instead, they will get land within 5 km radius of original location of the land.
While returning the land to the original owner, the DDA will hold a draw a lottery to ensure transparency. While handing over land to DDA, land owners have to ensure that it is free from any litigation or encumbrance.
However, those participating in land pooling policy must give minimum 5 acres of land to DDA; developer or farmer can have these in different sizes at different places in the land pooling zones. The DDA will collect external development charges (Rs 2 crore per acre) for building infrastructure from the land contributors.
Farmers, who are willing to participate in land pooling but are unable to pay external development charges would be allowed to give up a part of the returnable residential land. In such cases, farmer will get 35 per cent of the returnable residential land instead of 43 per cent, says DDA Vice Chairman Balvinder Kumar. While it will remove the hassle of land acquisition, the policy also gives a chance to farmers to become developers, he adds.
At present, most of the residential areas which have come up in Delhi are constructed by cooperative group housing societies. Once land pooling policy comes to force, private developer can buy the developed land from farmers and construct apartments. With the DDA’s Master Plan Delhi (MPD) proposing construction of 25 lakh housing units by 2021, the government aims to pool 20,000 hectares of land.
“The policy will unlock hitherto untapped potential for land for developments across 20,000 hectares of land within Delhi city limits, covering up the shortfall in land availability in the capital city.
The scheme will address the issue of affordable housing in the city as the 15 per cent of houses built will be reserved for the economically poor people, says Sanjay Dutt, Executive Managing Director, South Asia, Cushman & Wakefield.
However, to prevent any delay in completion of development by DDA, there is also a penalty clause in the policy against the government agency. A farmer or a developer, after getting the developed land, have to construct houses or commercial complexes in their land within seven years. If they seek more time, they have to pay penalty.
Those urban development authorities struggling to acquire land and develop infrastructure can study the DDA initiative. However, the benefits of the policy will
be reaped only if the process is implemented in a swift manner in collaboration between the development authority and land owners.
Source: Deccan Herald
Dated: 2nd June 2015