Acquisition of land for civic purposes, as well as housing projects is now an easier task, all thanks to the approval given by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), to the much-awaited land pooling policy. A DDA spokesperson informed that public-private partnership in land assembly and development in Delhi was approved. Previously, DDA used to approach private owners and acquire land from them, at a low price, and then develop the same. The developed area, with residential or commercial properties, was then sold at premium rates. However, as the rate of properties escalated, this policy came under threat from land-owners who demanded more compensation. Features of new policy Land-owners would be highly benefited with the implementation of the new policy, since land pooling will return a major part of the land to the landowner, unlike expropriation. The new policy would prove to be a perfect method for city development and a good alternative for land banking and expropriation.Forty to sixty per cent of land, which is obtained by landowners through pooling, is returned to them after development of infrastructure by DDA. This can be kept by them or given to private developers. The Board of Inquiry held hearings on June 22 and 23, suggesting that minimum land pooling size should be either 20 hectares and above, or between 2 and 20 hectares. The same was approved by DDA. In the former case, 60 per cent of the pooled land would be used by DDA (53 per cent for residential purpose, five per cent for commercial and two per cent for public and semi-public use), and in the latter 48 per cent of the pooled land would be used (43 per cent for residential, three per cent for commercial and two per cent for public and semi-public use). The previous ground coverage has also been increased from 33 per cent to 40 per cent. Advantages of land pooling ·Promotes efficient, equitable and sustainable land development in the urban fringes. ·Provides opportunity for a planned development of the land and infrastructure network. ·Profitable to land-owners as the 40-60% of the developed land is handed back to them. Future Plans An additional of about 48 lac population is expected to be provided with accommodation, under the Master Plan of Delhi 2021. It envisages development of about 20,000-24,000 hectares of land, obtained through land pooling. 50 percent of the pooled land would be utilized by DDA for building EWS units that would provide housing to economically weaker sections of the area. Before the new policy is implemented, regulations for its operation would be formulated in which the role of DDA and the land owners are clearly mentioned. A proposal for a separate institutional framework with officials from DDA, is also put forward. A DDA spokesperson said that under this new approach, all the plans shall be prepared through GIS technology, which would ensure exact superimposition of land use plans on revenue maps. It was also mentioned that, if necessary, amendments would be made in Land Acquisition Act, 1894, Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954, Delhi Development Act, 1957 and Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. An approval of land pooling proposals or projects and its implementation, has also been approved by the DDA.
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