The Centre is looking at various models of land pooling to develop urban infrastructure and leverage economies of scale in rural areas. The effort is aimed at boosting farmers’ incomes and ensuring that land does not become a hurdle in the construction of public assets.
A high-powered interministerial panel has been formed to look into the concept from agriculturalists’ point of view and to scout for social entrepreneurs who could invest capital in it.
“The basic idea is to ensure that small farmers, for whom economic gains from a piece of land might be going down, could join together for a common cause and in return, they get a better deal economically,” said a senior official directly involved in the discussions.
The official said much of this was still at a conceptual stage, and whether or not some pilot programmes should be done would be decided on the basis of the outcome of these discussions.
generally involves owners offering land parcels to some agency, usually for public purposes, which then carries out development and returns a portion of the land to them. The development ensures that the owners get a better price even for smaller portions.
The Airports Authority of India
has commissioned a study to adopt the land pooling
model for building greenfield airports in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar. The civil aviation ministry has asked the respective state government to identify at least 2,500 acres of land under this model. “The model will help deal with resistance from the owners to give away their land for infrastructure projects,” an official said.
Recently, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) okayed its land pooling
policy to develop urban infrastructure.
Under this policy, there are two categories - if the contributor owns 20 or more than 20 acres of land, then the DDA
will return 60% of his developed land; when it’s less than 20 hectares, then the owner gets 48% of the developed land. The returned land will be within three km of the original land.
In Andhra Pradesh, much of the new capital, Amravati, is being built on this concept of land pooling.
There, contributors also get a fixed sum along with the developed land for a specified tenure.
as a concept is not new and has been in the works for quite some time. In rural areas too, land consolidation to leverage economies of scale has been prevalent. But, it seems, in this government, it has got a fresh impetus. To me, conceptually, this model is a better option than land acquisition,” said Himanshu, a professor at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
N C Saxena, former secretary of the Planning Commission of India, too, agreed that the concept was better than outright acquisition, as it involves a willing buyer and seller, but warned that parcels so acquired should not be left fallow and such a model might face some challenges in tribal areas and also in places changing land use is difficult.