Policy coming up for another round of discussion at Delhi Development Authority today

A month after the Capital’s unauthorised colonies were given the legit tag, the Government is gearing up to give farmhouses in Delhi a similar reprieve. The controversial farmhouse policy that has been hanging fire for lack of consensus is all set for another round of discussions this Friday.

The issue, which has polarised the members of the administration over the leeway that can be allowed to the farmhouse owners in the Capital, will come up for a discussion at the meeting of the Delhi Development Authority, but sources told The Hindu , there is a growing clamour to give the amnesty scheme a push.

“Not everyone is on the same page as far as regularisation of the farmhouses is concerned. There have been several instances where officials including the previous DDA Vice-Chairperson G. S. Patnaik expressed concern over the legality of the policy,” said a source in the Urban Development Ministry.

The policy seeks to regularise all existing farmhouses in the proposed urban extension areas that came up prior to February 7, 2007, and re-designated as ‘country homes’. These country homes will then be permitted in all use zones, except notified or reserved forest areas, or where they are in the right of way of infrastructure like proposed rail line or major road or sewage lines.

The proposed policy also includes changes in the floor area ratio (FAR) of the farmhouses, penalty amounts that can be charged from owners for change of FAR, external development charges that will be levied etc.,

“The policy is being opposed primarily because it violates legal provisions. For instance, the land acquisition notified for certain villages on South Delhi has been declared ‘good and valid’ by the Court of Law, which means the government is the legal owner of the land. About 1,300 acres of land has been acquired, and these farm owners cannot be the owners. Also, most of these farmhouses have been purchased through transfer of land, which is not permitted by the law. Then there is the issue of violation of the Master Plan. These farmhouses are in the ‘J’ zone, which calls for a specific number of roads, green spaces and other provisions, which have to be adhered to, but stand to change in the proposed regularisation document,” said the source.

Former DDA Vice-Chairperson Mr. Patnaik had also quoted the Supreme Court judgment on land acquisition notification in respect of 13 south Delhi villages passed in 2010 that still holds good. He had pointed out a legal tag cannot be conferred on the farmhouse owners covered under land acquisition notification. “Some members, who are not in favour of the policy, see it as an elitist design. Their contention is that these farmhouses are owned by the rich and the powerful who were in the know of the law. By regularising these farmhouses and allowing them huge FARs, the government seems to be giving precedence to demands over law,” said the source.

The policy drafted to regularise farmhouses in Mehrauli, Neb Sarai, Ber Sarai and Chhattarpur proposes that a one-time amnesty can be availed by the owners within 180 days of the notification of the policy and farmhouses that have not violated norms of the Master Plan-2001, will be allowed to construct as per the development control norms, which allow maximum ground coverage of 15 per cent, maximum FAR of 30 per cent subject to a maximum of 3,000 sq. m. and a 50 per cent designated green area.

  • Seeks to regularise farmhouses that came up before February 7, 2007

  • Includes changes in the floor area ratio of the farmhouses