By Ramesh Menon
With the DDA announcing the Land pooling policy, and the implementation of the same likely within a couple of months, it’s imperative that the policy makers spare a thought to this one impediment to the planned urbanization of Delhi:-
The Land allotted to the Landless in the 1970s, more popularly referred to by the local landowners as “74/4” .
A brief history of reference “74/4 land”
During the mid 1970, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime minister initiated the 20 points programme with the intent to provide succor & uplift the poor & underprivileged sections of the society. The then government allotted agricultural land, largely from the Gram sabha account, to the landless farmers from the weaker sections of society, so that the recipients could create subsistence farming.
The same was done in the villages of Delhi too, and there are multiple acres under various villages which have passed on from one generation to another, and the same is referred to as “74/4” land. (Only the physical possession remains within the family, although there are no documents to prove otherwise).
Although the said scheme was discontinued in 1989, and no more such allotments were made thereafter, there is substantial confusion about the status of these lands, allotted then. (Although, it is acknowledged that the purpose of the scheme was achieved by drawing parity amongst the castes & landholders amongst the villages)
The government, over the past decade & a half has acknowledged that forward-looking decision(s) need to be taken about the status of these lands, in the ever-urbanizing landscape of Delhi. The necessary action thereof from the government, were taken up for discussion multiple times by the Delhi assembly; various committees appointed for fact finding & grievance redressal*, as well as the various competent authorities to ascertain the following facts: –
* Suggestions / Objections / Opinions & grievances were sought from the general public solicited through advertisements in leading dailies
- Allotment of residential/agricultural land under 20 Point Programme
- Conferment of title/rights in respect thereof and protection of such rights during acquisition and consolidation of land;
- Vesting of land in Gaon Sabha under Section 81 of the Delhi Land Reform Act, 1954;
- Consolidation of land holdings in Delhi to address the need for extension of the Lal Dora/Abadi in villages on account of expansion of families;
The public response has always been overwhelming whenever the government has solicited participation in planning & ease of business, and it was likewise in this matter. Responses poured in, broadly classified under following categories:
- Persons who were allotted land under the 20 Point Programme, but could not get legal possession (Absolute ownership rights)
- People who are in possession but the revenue records don’t accord absolute rights to the family tilling the land.
- Lack of civic amenities.
- Suggestions/complaints against misuse of Section 81 of the DLR Act.
- Compensation claims.
- Persons who were allotted land/plots but later dispossessed or forcibly evicted.
- Cases not covered under the 20 Point Programme.
- Extension of Laldora and abadi.
- Irregularities in chakbandhi.
With the DDA announcing the land pooling policy, there needs to be clarity on the ‘74/4’ lands, more specifically on how the lands would be treated, for the purpose of Pooling.
Also, if the government has to obtain the possession back, how would the compensation, rehabilitation & resettlement provisions be implemented?
Since there is no automatic inheritance of these lands, what would be the institutional mechanism be?
How does the government plan to distinguish between the ‘Asami’ & “Bhumidar”?
Many of the said allottees have Sold their lands by way of the General power of attorney (GPA) which the government did not take cognizance of, earlier. The GPA issue remains confusing with the recent contradictory stands taken by DDA, and the Supreme Court’s judgement.
This being a small part of the larger problem statement.