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Stage set for land pooling: LG makes 89 villages urban areas
The Times of India  |  May 19, 2017

Prabhakar Sinha | New Delhi

Lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal has bypassed the Arvind Kejriwal government and notified 89 villages as urban areas. This will pave the way for land pooling, which would make around 40,000 acres of land available for development.

 

The proposal to allow land pooling is almost a decade old. Delhi Development Authority had notified the policy in June 2015. But it could not be implemented as the state government refused to change the land use of the villages' agricultural land.

 

To change the land use, the first step was to change the character of the village from rural to urban area, which was notified on Tuesday. In the second step, the agricultural land of the farmers of the villages will be declared as “development area''. After this, farmers can give land to DDA for land pooling.

 

This is expected to lead to pooling of around 40,000 acres of land on the outskirts of Delhi, which is the size of the industrial and residential area in Noida combined.

 

Under the proposed policy , if a farmer or a group of farmers gives more than 20 hectares (50 acres) of land to DDA, the authority will return 60% of the land after developing it. For less than 20 hectares, DDA will return 40% of the land. On the rest of the land, DDA will provide common facilities like road, sewer, water supply and other basic amenities.

 

DDA will meet the cost of development by selling the developed land left with it to developers or end users. The land given back to the original owners by DDA can be used for housing or any commercial development.

 

A Delhi government spokesperson refused to term the process of notification as bypassing the state government. He said there was file movement for the purpose. The minister's approval was not required as the department handling land issues is not part of the state government.

 

Leader of opposition in the Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta said the notification was due to the LG taking direct cognisance of the issue. He said this augured well for the development of Delhi as it shows that the LG has decided to take determined action on developmental issues. Therefore, it is expected that the next move to declare the agricultural land as urban development area will also come soon and the LG will not wait for a nod from the Kejriwal government, he said.

 

All land outside “lal dora'' ­ the area demarcated for village residential areas-has to be declared as development area. After that, the land use will automatically become non-agriculture.

 

The Union government has been asking the Delhi state government to expedite the process of announcing a land pooling policy so that development activities could be accelerated in the state. However, the Kejriwal government had asked for 10% of the developed land to be allotted to the state government. The Centre had refused, saying that land would be allotted to the state government as and when it would demand it for legitimate use.