Land Pooling Policy of Smart City Delhi

Planning Dated:  April 8, 2015
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More than 70 per cent of the world population would be living in cities putting huge pressure on urban infrastructure and services. Indian cities especially Metropolitan and two-tier and three-tier cities are drawing large migration of people owing mainly to the economic growth, employment opportunities and quality of life that they offer. Delhi too is facing huge influx and has caused significant constraints on the developed areas despite reasonable construction activity happening in NCR.

Existing legislations in Delhi are unable to provide land for housing and development purposes. DDA in a well thought-out plan has adopted a policy of assembling and pooling of land at the state level under Master Plan Delhi 2021 to augment burgeoning demand and balance the imbalanced land & housing distribution. MoUD on 5th Sept. 2013 announced Land Pooling Policy (LPP) to augment the availability of land for the creation of necessary real estate, especially the housing for general public, including the Economically Weaker Section.

Broadly, the scheme aims towards the aim of our Country’s Honorable Prime Minister and provides a mechanism for land owners and developers owning certain size of land in specific, notified areas to hand over the land to DDA and in return get certain percentage of developed land having infrastructure like road network, markets, parks, schools, hospitals, commercial and institutional areas and other allied facilities such as electricity, water supply and sewage Delhi Master Plan 2021. This Policy addresses the acute housing shortage of Delhi providing housing for all and empowering people by providing them the opportunity doing away with tedious and time consuming process of land acquisition to bring in a world class city.  Similar polices have been experimented before in many states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu and also overseas. Now it is Delhi’s turn to follow the path. However, there are few questions that we have to address before getting into the action.

  • Is Delhi ready for such a makeover?
  • Will a common man get a house at affordable price?
  • How will land owners in different Zones of Delhi, developers, infrastructure providers, service providers and DDA  to deliver a workable solution under the Policy to create the Smart Delhi?

Issues covering essentials of a Land Pooling Policy, the barriers and potential solutions for planning and implementation Land Pooling Policy using innovative technological solutions, and financing in order to develop cities with smart, congenial, intelligent and sustainable environments. 

About Delhi:

What is Smart City?

Smart City is defined in many ways:

  • Capital of the Largest democracy & one of the fastest growing economies.
  • Proposed driver of economic activity in the country.
  • Stable politicial, social and economic eco-system.
  • Multi agency investment into Delhi – State, Center, Private, Others.
  • New Policy initiative to acclerate real estate development (ref. recent notifications on policy guidelines)
  • Plans to develop into a WORLD CLASS METROPOLIS (or a SMART CITY).
  • Projected investment flow being the highest, amongst the indian cities.
  • MPD 2021 – Notified vide S.O.141 dt. 07 feb’07.
  • A Smart City that leverage data gathered from smart sensors through a smart grid to create a city that is liveable, workable & sustainable is a smart city.
  • Smart City is a well-performing city in a forward-looking way in economy, governance, mobility, environment, livelihood, built on the smart combination of endowments and activities of self-decisive, independent and aware citizens.
  • A Smart City is just not of sensors, broadband infrastructure, hot spots, water and sanitation solutions. At the heart of smart city are smart inhabitants, smart governance, lifestyle and  economy driven by innovation.
  • A Smart City uses digital technologies to enhance performance and well-being, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.
  • Smart City is a Healthy City where:
    • Members participate in development and execution of activities
    • Members are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy
    • One member’s needs are met by fellow members
    • Have a sense of ownership and belongingness
    • Community takes care of its footprints in a sensitive manner
    • Able to address disasters and crisis situations
    • Healthy level of employment to all
    • Conserve the resources for the community so that all can use equally
    • Members follow a socially acceptable behavior
    • Members feel a safe and secure environment
    • Respond faster to local and global challenges
    • Uses physical infrastructure (roads, built environment and other physical assets) more efficiently
    • Institutions for cooperation in learning & innovation

Conceptualization of Smart City:

a) Green Field Cities:

Green field project or the existing towns can be upgraded to Smart Cities which is primarily brown field project. Greenfield Smart City Projects’ entire infrastructure has to be built from scratch, financially more costly and would have to be located near existing employment generating source or upcoming employment generating source will take 15-20 years to fully develop.

b) Brown Field Cities:

Brownfield Projects on the other hand require huge refurbishment and retrofitting, financially less costly, cause hardships to citizens in transition / construction period, yet may not meet aspirations and objectives in full. Horizontal and unplanned expansion eats away cultivated land. Re-densification of land and opting for vertical growth with reduction in horizontal growth would help reorganizing congested areas and slums over a period of time.

But the major issue to be addressed is land acquisition for development proposes in Megacities like Delhi. Though India has Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2011, the acquisition of land available is if not impossible but is immensely difficult due to Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 as the majority of land is privately owned.

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

Act needs a Relook: The Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013 which become effective from September 27, 2013 need a relook. The provisions of the Act make it difficult to acquire land for projects like Smart Cities, It is cumbersome and time consuming. Acquisition, resettlement, rehabilitation etc. make the process expensive. Social impact assessment and environmental impact assessment often lead to delay and denial. The ongoing policy of Compulsory Acquisition of land for Planned Development in Delhi suffers from several lacunas:

  • Inadequate compensation and resultant dissatisfaction of the landowners
  • Delays
  • Litigations
  • Huge cost for acquisition
  • Planning and developmental cost
  • Time lag due to administrative procedures
  • Encroachments/squatting
  • Provision for EWS usually falls short
  • Provision for utilities usually falls short

Lessons Learnt: New Policy Redefines Objectives:

  • To ensure planned development of the Capital City as World Class Smart City
  • To make landowner as partner in development
  • To involves private sector for development
  • Fair and equitable return to all the land owners/ farmers
  • Efficient, Smooth and fast mechanism to avoid delays
  • Private sector participation
  • Cooperative and Community participation
  • Adequate provisions for EWS / LIG
  • Adequate provision for Govt., social amenities, parks & infrastructure services
  • To achieve an optimum and efficient use of land

A more participative policy like LAND POOLING POLICY may be useful.

a) To discourage land speculation, in equitable property holdings and to widen the base of ownership of land and its development.
b) Paradigm shift from Large Scale Land Acquisition and Cash Compensation based Regime to Land Barter and Development Rights Regime. In this pursuit, there is a need to adopt a multipronged approach, together with simultaneous simple mentation of various policy options. 
c) In the proposed Urban Extensions about 50% of the land is required for Facility Corridors / city level facilities / services / utilities, etc; which is to be pooled / acquired mainly through proportionate Land Return. In certain cases or for small holdings below 0.4 ha., where land return is not feasible compulsory land acquisition as per prevailing policy may be necessary. 
d) For development of residential neighborhood ( 20 ha.), the main mode of development shall be through Land Assembly by the Developer / owners, who will surrender proportionate land for City / Zonal level infrastructure, parks, facilities and EWS / LIG Housing to the DDA / Government. In certain cases, the options of land acquisition through land return and compulsory land acquisition may have to be applied simultaneously.
e) While embarking upon the new policy of land assembly and development, it is necessary to keep in view the overall planning needs of the city and social responsibility for reservations of EWS / LIG housing, Greens, social infrastructure / facilities and transport / parking infrastructure. This should be the backbone of the new policy.

Land Pooling Policy:

What is Land Pooling Policy:  The Land Pooling Policy is based on the Concept of Land Pooling wherein the land parcels owned by individuals or group of owners is legally consolidated by transfer of ownership right to the designated Land Pooling Agency, which later transfers the ownership of the part of land back to the owners for undertaking of development for such areas.

  • Out of the box thinking.
  • Land pooling policy not only DDA, all stakeholders and agencies responsible for development.
  • Policy is not only for big fishes but also for farmers/original owners.
  • “Land Pooling” as a Concept to provide Optimum Utilization of Scarce Resource “Land” through Planning & Public Partnership.
  • Transform irregularly shaped cadastral parcels to appropriate plots to be used in more economical manner.
  • Efficient, Sustainable & Equitable land development through   Co-operative public participation.
  • Basic concept of this policy is that commercial and the Project Structure Plan (PSP) component shall be allocated along the designated district centers/facility corridors whereas the residential component shall be returned as close as possible to the original land holding.

Salient features of Delhi Land Pooling Policy:

  • Voluntary Assembly of Land.
  • Reconstitution of Land by DDA (as facilitator) as per approved MPD & ZDP.
  • DDA return 48% for land <20 Ha and 60% for Land >20 Ha
  • DDA share (40% or 52%), for mandatory city level facilities (National Council of Applied Economic Research, NCAER VALIDATED).
  • Policy noted by MoUD (S.O. 2687 (E)) dated: 05/09/2013
  • Regulations (for smooth implementation) approved by Authority on 07/11/2014.
  • Public observation and suggestions (on both policy and regulations) well incorporated.
  • Declaration of Development area and urban villages.
  • Actual Development work on ground; coordination od service providing agencies; International level service consultants & (DJB, NDPL, PWD, NDMC, MCD etc.)
  • Residential FAR of 400 for Group Housing on Net residential land with additional 15% FAR reserved for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) Housing.
  • FAR for City Level Commercial and City Level PSP is 250.
  • Max. Ground coverage has been enhanced to 40 %.

Stakeholders in Land Pooling Policy:

a) Land Pooling Agency:
“Land Poolind Agency” means the Delhi Development Authority, designated to implement the Land Pooling Policy for integrated planned development as per the Master Plan/ Zonal Development Plan Provision.

b) Competent Authority:
“Competent Authority” means the vice chairman, Delhi Development Authority and in the matters relating to Land Pooling Policy, the decision of the Competent Authority is final.

c) Development Entity:
“Development Entity” means an individual land owner, or a group of land owners (who has grouped together of their own volition/ will for this purpose) or a developer, permitted to pool the land in an identified area or otherwise for unified planning, servicing and subdivision/ share of the land for integrated development as per prescribed norms and guidelines.

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