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The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has approved the land pooling policy under Delhi’s Master Plan 2021. With the help of this policy, Delhi will get 17 lakh new affordable housing units, with a capacity to accommodate 76 lakh people. The policy signals a change in the DDA’s model of land acquisition and development to a land pooling model, where the private sector and land owners are both partners in the development.
However, there are certain aspects DDA needs to work on before any development is initiated; one of them is the timely revision of the zonal development plans (ZDPs). Delhi has 15 zones under the Master Plan and each has its own ZDP, which will denote the exact areas that are open to land pooling. If a consortium of developers has 70 per cent of contiguous area in any sector, it can apply for a development license for that area. However, these sector boundaries are yet to be defined in the ZDPs, and this becomes an urgent prerequisite to be met by the DDA to initiate the implementation of the policy.
Calling Delhi’s land pooling policy a historic piece of regulation, Neh Srivastava, President, Central Secretariat Services Officers Society, and Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, said, “There are some criteria that needed a relook. The earlier draft had put FAR ceiling at 400, which has since been amended to 200. This is likely to dampen the prospects of many families wanting to have their own home.”
The policy has also introduced concepts such as external development charges and tradable floor-area ratio (FAR) to the Delhi real-estate market. The external development charge is the amount builders would pay to the DDA to provide public services and infrastructure, while tradable FAR would be floor space that can be used by developers for building additional floors on certain other locations, or for trading them to other developers.
The private sector has been keen to get the policy implemented, and land in 95 villages declared as part of the development area has already been aggregated by private entities. Under the new policy, there may be a sudden boost in the land development process, putting pressure on the DDA and other service providers to keep pace with private development for integrated infrastructure provision.