Keeping its promise to Delhi people, DDA finally launched the online portal for land pooling policy. This single window system is the first important step toward the operationalization of the land pooling policy. Farmers/landowners with contiguous land parcels of at least 2 hectares in the five new zones specified in MPD-2021 are welcome to register their land on the portal.
Housing and Urban Affairs minister Hardeep Puri and Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal launched the portal on 5th February.
As mentioned above, the policy is open for participation from landowners with over two hectares of land. For development to begin, however, 70 percent contiguous and encumbrance-free land within a sector must be pooled. Development of this land can then be, after the due processes are complete, undertaken by a consortium, developer entity or an individual.
As most of you will remember, it was only last year that Union housing and urban development ministry came up with the idea of Land Pooling Policy. And now with the launch of the portal, things are moving at the expected pace. The policy applies to ‘urbanisable’ areas of urban extensions, covering a total of 95 villages in Delhi.
The land pooling policy was launched with two important goals in mind. First, to bring to an end the clumsy and complicated land acquisition process that has lived out its relevance. Second, to provide affordable and quality housing to the people of Delhi. Under this policy, 17 lakh new housing units will come up, promising to fulfill the dream of owning a house of around 76 lakh people.
Greenfield areas in five zones come under the land pooling policy. These are J, K-1, L, N, and P-II. All of these fall under MPD 2021. The policy aims to develop close to 190 sectors in total. Initially though, according to sources, around 55 sectors in N and L zone will be taken up for acquisition and development.
Minister Hardeep Puri was very hopeful that the land pooling policy will lift the burden of unauthorized colonies.
DDA will issue an e-receipt as acknowledgment on successful registration of every application.
DDA is inviting landowners to register their land to learn what kind of reception the land pooling policy gets from people. In other words, how enthusiastic they are about DDA’s plans and do they wish to participate in realizing them.
The registration of applications does not mean DDA will provide any kind of certification to the land. In fact, before further stages of the process, DDA and the government will subject the registered land to due verification before they decide that it is suitable for development. Before this, no publicity of any projects on the land is allowed, nor can any individual/aggregator collect any money promising development.
As DDA Vice-Chairman Tarun Kapoor highlighted, the online platform has been launched to know the extent of people’s interest in the policy through their applications. The portal, at the same time, is also meant for the verification of land parcels, grant approvals, and licenses. Furthermore, it is to be the landowners’ authentic source of information on land pooling policy. For example, sector boundaries chosen for development, selected villages, etc.
Landowners can also upload all the relevant and necessary documents with their application.
Land parcel registration portal will remain open for the next six months. This will give DDA a fair approximation of the land on which they can look forward to undertaking development in each sector. DDA Vice-Chairman further highlighted that sectors which achieve 70 percent contiguous land pools will be taken up for development first.
The reopening of the portal for other sectors will depend on the landowners’ response in these sectors. As Tarun Kapoor said, they must get the participation of enough number of landowners/farmers in these sectors for them to reopen the portal for other sectors. He further said that some sectors can be taken up before others for development. For instance, he is hoping to get a clear idea of participation for one or two sectors in the next couple of months. Mr. Kapoor, aware of the ground reality, knows that participation from all sectors cannot come at once.
Mr. Kapoor said that they will also set up help desks for farmers. This will take care of the interests of farmers who are not tech savvy. DDA will set up these help desks with assistance from deputy commissioners and SDMs.
Under the land pooling policy, 17 lakh housing units, with floor area ration (FAR) of 200, will be developed. They will accommodate close 76 lakh people.
DDA is also taking an important step to realize its Housing for All missions. Towards this goal of affordable and inclusive housing, DDA is keeping 15 percent FAR over and above permissible FAR for EWS housing. In concrete terms, this means that out of the total 17 lakh, 5 lakh units are meant for economically weaker sections.
Land pooling is also a novel initiative in its collaborative approach. This was the major highlight of the policy from its very announcement. On the ground, this means a clear division of responsibilities. DDA will be the sole facilitator and planner. The development of infrastructure, on the other hand, will be taken up by Consortium or developer entities formed by consenting landowners.
The entire process for land pooling will be done through a single window system on the portal. Important to note, the policy allows for a FAR of 200.
As Ramesh Menon of Certes Realty highlighted, this first step to realizing the land pooling policy is the beginning of Delhi’s journey to the status of a world-class megacity. He was all praise for the officials handling the implementation of the land pooling policy. Applications received on the registration portal, he said, will give DDA a very precise estimate of the land available for pooling and development in each sector and zone.
Also offering valuable criticism, Mr. Menon said that final reaching out has been DDA’s weak point. This can undermine the entire process even after all due notifications, planning, and announcements, etc. Not this time. He said that DDA should now take the entire process right to a landowner’s doorstep.
At the same time, Mr. Menon said, DDA should draw a list of all the big landowners in a sector and hold parallel discussions with them as well as share summary development plans.
And, as Mr. Menon concluded, investors today are spoilt for choice when it comes to high yield options. In this highly competitive scenario, if DDA wants large institutional investors to take a real interest in its policy then it must undertake a true public-private partnership (PPP) model of development.