DDA makes another attempt to revive interest in its land pooling policy

With an aim to boost interest in its land pooling policy, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is working on issuing conditional notices for the formation of consortiums of landowners this month, according to a senior official in the urban body.

Once a consortium in a particular sector comes into being, it will become the consortium’s responsibility to convince the other landowners of that particular sector to pool in their land parcels, so that the minimum threshold of 70% contiguous land is reached and the sector becomes eligible to be taken over by authorities for development works.

Explaining the rationale behind this development, a senior DDA official said through the conditional notices the urban body now looks to shift the responsibility of achieving the minimum 70% contiguity through the landowners who have already expressed their interest in the policy. The official added that the process of preparing and issuing conditional notices will take two weeks.

“Through this, the DDA will facilitate the forming of consortiums. The onus of ensuring the contiguous land will now be on the people who have expressed their interest in the policy. They must ensure contiguity in land by convincing other people in their sectors who are yet to express their interest in pooling their land parcels,” the DDA official added.

This development comes slightly over two months after Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri announced a two-pronged strategy aimed at expediting the execution of the land pooling policy.

The strategy

One of them was amending the Delhi Development Act, 1957. The proposed amendment sought to make land pooling mandatory once the participation rate in a sector reaches the minimum threshold of 70%.

However, the proposed amendments were not introduced in the most recent Parliament session, which concluded in April.

The alternative plan was to issue conditional notices to landowners, who have already expressed their interest in the policy, to form consortiums — the plan which is now being put into action by the DDA.

The context

While ambitious on paper, the land pooling policy has been a dead-end in terms of execution, with no development works taking place since it was notified — on two occasions, in 2013 and 2018.

Currently, 104 villages — which have been divided into six zones and further divided into sectors — have been identified for land pooling. According to the current policy, 70% of contiguous land is required to attain eligibility for forming a landowners’ consortium in a sector.

However, the contiguity factor has served as a major roadblock with the urban body agreeing that while it has achieved 70% participation in multiple sectors, contiguity is yet to be achieved.

Senior agency officials say the conditional notices will work towards reviving the dying interest in the policy.

To give an instance of the waning interest in the land pooling policy, sample this — only 19 applications and 12.6 additional hectares were registered during the last extension given by the DDA for land pooling applications — from January 24 to February 28. Since the agency first opened its window for land pooling applications in February 2019, a total area of 7,275.45 hectares from a total of 6,922 applications have been registered.

According to the current policy, 60% of the land can be utilised by the owners or developer entity for developing residential and commercial facilities. However, 40% of the land should be surrendered to service providing agencies, such as the DDA, for infrastructural developments like road networks, sewerage systems and parks.

Previously, senior DDA officials, including Vice-Chairman Manish Gupta, had asserted that development works will start in at least two out of the 16 high priority sectors that have been identified in zones L, N and P-II.

Responding to the progress on the development works, a senior DDA official said the infrastructure plans have been completed. “We are formulating on how to go ahead, these plans are with respect to zones P-II and N,” the official added.

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Printable version | May 14, 2022 1:18:40 am |