GCDA considering land pooling, transfer of development rights for sustainable development

With an updated master plan envisaged for the sustainable development of the Greater Kochi area, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) is considering a slew of novel initiatives to usher in integrated development of urban spaces.

Many of these, like land pooling and transfer of development rights, have been successfully tried out in cities such as Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. In land pooling, a group of landowners hand over their land parcels to the government for public and infrastructure projects. Between 60% to 70% of the land is returned to the original owners who retain their ownership, after deducting a sum as the cost of development.

This is done after the rearrangement of plots and development of infrastructure such as roads, public spaces, drains, water and power supply lines. It was often preferred over land acquisition, since the land value increased three to four times the original value, said GCDA sources.

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) refers to a zoning method that is used to protect land that ought to be conserved or land that is needed to widen a road, by taking away the right of construction of the landowner. In return, the government issues a TDR certificate – a transferable right to construct in another area. The curbs on constructing in a certain area are made up for by permitting high-density development in another area.

The Kerala Town and Country Planning Act 2016 mandated the agency to opt for land pooling and TDR, it is learnt.

May Mathew, who retired as Senior Town Planner from the GCDA, said the agency could do much in the post-pandemic situation when a “new-normalised development paradigm” with innovative approaches was the need of the hour.

“This would optimise human development opportunities in cities while protecting the integrity of our supporting ecosystems. The Kerala Town and Country Planning Act of 2016 could be revisited in order to fit development authorities in the three-tier system of local governance, to get the best results. Sustainable cities can be created while protecting ecosystems through TDR,” said Ms. Mathew, who is also the founder trustee of Kochi-based NGO Centre for Environmental Efficiency.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 8:20:25 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/gcda-considering-land-pooling-transfer-of-development-rights-for-sustainable-development/article65733216.ece