The AAP-led Delhi government has transferred gram sabha land in 95 rural villages to its revenue department. The decision was taken to protect government land in these areas. These villages have to be declared as urbanized and transferred to Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for the implementation of land pooling policy in the near future. Sources say the decision to transfer the land to the revenue department will help the Delhi government keep this land for infrastructure projects even after the villages have been handed over to DDA.
In an October 29 notification, the Delhi government ordered for the transfer of thousands of hectares of land from the Panchayat department to the revenue department. “Under the panchayat department, the gram sabha land has to be handed over to DDA once the villages are declared as development area. For infrastructure projects, Delhi government would have to buy the same land from DDA,” said a senior government official.
This has been one of the biggest worries of the Delhi government after the Union urban development ministry notified the scheme for land pooling in 2013. The guidelines for its implementation was notified recently. DDA has been pushing that 95 rural villages be declared as development area so that it can roll out the scheme for land pooling to meet the growing requirement for housing in the city.
But the Delhi government is apprehensive about the policy. Sources say, CM Arvind Kejriwal is thinking of consulting urban development experts before giving a go ahead to declare the villages as development areas. “We need to carefully study the policy to ensure that farmers’ interest is taken care of,” said an official.
Under the policy, those who give two to 20 hectare of land will get 48% of the total land back while those who give 20 hectare and above will get 60% land back for development of residential, commercial and public and semi-public facilities. The location of the land will be decided through a computerized process, but preference will be given to those who apply first. The land owning authority will collect external development charges (Rs 2 crore per acre) from the farmers or developer entity who avail the policy for development of civic infrastructure.
Once implemented, DDA officials say that it will help in the development of 24-25 lakh housing units in the years to come without getting stuck in the land acquisition process.