Earlier policy of large-scale acquisition left farmers unhappy

The Delhi Development Authority on Friday approved a new land pooling policy which will make the owners of land major beneficiaries of development undertaken on it. In the process, the DDA has junked its policy of large-scale acquisition that left farmers unhappy about being dispossessed of their land at low rates. The new policy is expected to give an impetus to DDA’s plans to build more sub-cities like Dwarka, Rohini and Narela in other urban extension areas.

Through the land pooling policy which has several elements of public private partnerships, landowners - including farmers - can form consortiums and tie-up with private builders or banks to consolidate their land parcels and then develop the land according to the zonal plans which have been approved as part of the Delhi Master Plan-2021 (MPD-2021).

After the land has been developed, the landowners can transfer a part of the land back to themselves. The DDA will be in charge of infrastructure development on the consolidated land for which a certain part of the land required for this will have to be transferred to the agency.

The land pooling policy also envisages creation of 15 per cent incremental housing for economically weaker sections thus ushering in another aspect of inclusion into this new policy.

The DDA also admitted in a statement that the large-scale acquisition policy heralded by the earlier version of the Delhi Master Plan adopted in 1961 had failed to keep pace with the rapid pace of urbanisation witnessed in Delhi.

The DDA said: “The (land-pooling) policy, necessitated due to planned acquisition not having kept pace with increasing demands of urbanisation, was being deliberated upon from 2003 onwards and was discussed repeatedly at various forums by expert bodies like the National Council of Applied Economics Research, planning experts and in various Authority meetings.”

The DDA credited the approval of the policy to the “concerted efforts” of the Union Urban Development Kamal Nath and Lt-Governor and DDA chairman Tejendra Khanna, who it said “had piloted widespread discussion and consultation of the policy in the recent past”.

Thought the earlier version of the MPD-2021 notified in July 2007 allowed the involvement of the private sector in consolidation and development of land/infrastructure services instead of development through large-scale land acquisition, the DDA has struggled to reverse the policies prevalent since 1961.

The DDA said it welcomes wider public participation to foster transparency in the land-pooling policy and is inviting objections and suggestions that urban planning experts and citizens might have.

Protests against land acquisition and the poor compensation that was paid have led to farmers protests erupting in Rohini, Barwala, Kanjhawala, Kapashera, Mahipalpur, and Dwarka in the recent past.

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