WOULD DELHI CM LOSE THE MCD PLOT WITH LAND POOLING?

Ramesh Menon
Strange as it may sound, the lowest denominator in the electoral hierarchy would define the future of the AAP, and professional credibility of the Chief Minister of Delhi.

While the Delhi Govt’s stated political position is to ‘sauce up the sops’ at the bottom of the pyramid, one constituency they seem to be ignoring, at their own risk, is Rural Delhi.

Contrary to the beliefs within their inner circle, the constituents of Rural / Outer Delhi are extremely well informed, politically active, and unlike any other villager from other parts of India. Rural Delhi is educated, financially independent, and have a malleable opinion.

AAP would lose ground only because their lack of knowledge on the subject, and inability to operationalize the Land Pooling policy. Here are some pointers:

-Rural Delhi (or the notified zones under MPD 2021) has a population of more than 4.0 million people

-Those who grow food (read farmers in Delhi), under adverse conditions, are extremely analytical of both success & failure, and generally are unforgiving towards those who block their progress

-There is a general perception that the Land Pooling Policy has been deliberately blocked by the Delhi Govt. despite the near 5000 acres of Gram Sabha land directly under the control of the Delhi Govt. revenue department now.

-In a much-publicized online interaction mediated by a Bollywood music director, the Chief minister had claimed that he would clear the file in 24 hours if the DDA agreed to his terms.

The web of corruption by the elected representatives for unauthorized development in Delhi, including all the concerned agencies is only well known; people pay a “nuisance tax / Lenter tax” to avoid complaints and enforcement of the law by the officers of the law.

Even the farmers who’ve inherited land from their forefathers aren’t spared the rod using the defunct Delhi Land reforms act 1954, wherein the state send notices to repossess the only asset most farmer families own, their land.

Their only mistake – They’re vulnerable. Mind you, they’re not helpless.

Sadly, the elected representatives and bureaucrats reporting to the political masters haven’t shown any political wisdom in alienating the local farming community, and focusing on the migrant population. The village populace infers that given more power, the Aam Aadmi Party, and its leadership would only choke them further.

Practically speaking, what’s to be done?

– Since the Master plan 2021 and the development norms have already been notified by the DDA and MoUD, all that the Delhi Govt. needs to do is facilitate& operationalize the Land Pooling, and further assist in the speedy implementation of the aggregation of land from the land owners.

Let’s not forget that it would be a gargantuan task, and a few detractors can derail the process.  The Central Govt, the state Govt, the municipality & the multiple stakeholders including landholders & investors must work hand in hand, to develop Delhi.

Or, is there a vested interest? 60% of the capital of a country lives in slums & unauthorized tenements. Is that how India’s capital’s urbanization plan is?

Mr. Delhi CM has a great opportunity to pip the rivals by assuaging 3.5 million affected people in Rural Delhi that they intend to actualize the Land Pooling Policy, and that AAP can be trusted. That might be adhesive enough to plug the leaks in a sinking ship.

Else, they can get together & align their interests, voices & votes too.

Author is Director of certes Realty Limited

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