Among the big newscasts in Delhi about various matters, land pooling policy has again come into the limelight. With the tussle in the midst of various governing bodies like DDA, Delhi government, Municipal Corporation and LG to run Delhi in an efficient way, land pooling has taken a toll as things are still unclear about its implementation. The story of land pooling policy has seen more twists and turns than a regular subject in India. It is interesting to analyse the zig zag ways in which the policy went in the last few years.
On account of a brief history on why this policy is hyped in the capital, we find that all the developed cities of the world had focused on the core of this policy long back. This proved the credibility of the land pooling formula. Domestically, states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra had adopted this policy resulting in the speeding up of economic activities in these states. Chandigarh, the ideal city of India has also used the basics of land pooling in its layout. These facts were enough for DDA (Delhi Development Authority) to consider this for Delhi. They started their initial probe in 2007 and even though 6 long years took to notify it in all fronts, it was worth the time as the final outcome in September 2013 notification of this policy had plans which could change the landscape of Delhi. Ministry of Urban Development gave a nod along as the urbanization of land pooling villages was necessary to make the policy practical.
Following this, in December 2014, the central government amended the Land Acquisition Act in order to finish off the minor constitutional roadblocks for the implementation of land pooling policy. In January 2015, when PM Narendra Modi announced the Smart City Mission for 109 cities, Delhi contained multiple smart cities where L zone was the biggest of all of them. L is the region near Dwarka and contains the maximum potential of development when land pooling arrives. In May 2015, the centre also put its stamp of authority on land pooling policy declaring it fit for implementation.
This was a time where there was a smooth sailing of the policy. But as soon as the Delhi Government came into the picture, things began to go haywire. Since the policy implementation will be in Delhi, Delhi Government had to urbanize the 89 villages coming in the land pooling zones. Instead of urbanizing them, they increased the land rates from Rs53 lakhs to Rs3.25 crores per acre in August 2015. LG (Lieutenant Governor) of Delhi heavily criticised this decision as it was done without any consideration of other authorities and mainly because it was done without urbanizing those 89 villages. Further, in November 2015 when everybody expected that urbanization of the villages will finally be done, Delhi Government again gave a shock by transferring the land into the revenue department of Delhi. Hence, there was no development in thecourse of the policy since May 2015 when the centre gave it a nod.
Then comes the year 2016, where expectation reached desperation. The complacent nature of Delhi Government over the fact of winning Vidhan Sabha elections with a huge margin was showing up. Many news channels discussed and debated about the irresponsibility shown by the government by not acting on the policy. After multiple pushes, cries, screams, campaigns and opposition pressure, the CM of Delhi gave the policy green light but with a condition. The condition was more of a demand where the government was asking 10-15% pooled land from DDA.This was made in June 2016, after wasting a year. In truth, the demand was made only to further delay the policy but Ministry of Urban Development declared in the media that the demands were baseless and had no significance. However, given the buoying nature of this Delhi Government, the centre gave an equivalent fulfilment of demands by giving land to Delhi Government at Re1 per annum in addition to the already transferred 27,000 bighas Gram Sabha Land. This declaration was made in July 2016 and still there is no clue when the policy will become operational. One more point to focus is that Delhi Government’s demand of statehood for Delhi was negated by the recent HC (High Court) verdict in August 2016 which means that the administrative powers are with the LG, a centre’s representative for Delhi. This further implies that LG can exercise his residual powers to implement this policy.
After all this, the most significant part occurred yesterday, where this issue was echoed in the Parliament of India. The Lok Sabha members showed a big concern over the delay of land pooling policy which is also delaying multiple benefits for Delhi. It is now interesting to see how the authoritative bodies in Delhi come on a common ground to guide land pooling as the ultimate policy of Delhi. Visit www.delhismartcities.com.