With 350 stalled projects, UP adopts land pooling due to acquisition woes

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To speed up stalled and proposed projects in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government has decided to adopt the land pooling model employed by progressive states, including Gujarat and Maharashtra, to boost urban infrastructure without land acquisition hurdles. 

Currently, the state government is working towards delivering a string of flagship development and infrastructure projects that require huge land parcels for development.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to implement the land pooling model as a pilot project over an area not less than 50 acres. He said the redeveloped land must comprise all basic amenities -- roads, drainage and streetlights provided by the development agency.  

Land pooling refers to amassing small land parcels for infrastructure development and returning approximately 60 per cent of the redeveloped land to the original owners after appropriating costs of infrastructure and public/shared spaces.  

Of the remaining 40 per cent land, a portion is reserved by the developer for common infrastructure -- roads, hospitals, schools, parks, electricity, water, and sewerage, among other things. The development authority gets to sell the rest of the land to finance such infrastructure and amenities. The target land parcels are normally agricultural holdings that are converted to urban infrastructure to cater to the needs of growing urbanisation, including housing.   

Since contiguous parcels are required, the land owners could be given back land at another location, apart from additional floor space index (FSI), to remunerate them with appreciated land holding valuation even if the plot size is smaller.

The state housing and urban development department has given a presentation to the CM detailing the nitty-gritty of the model and its implementation in developed states such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. Adityanath underlined that the development agency must incorporate green belt, water harvesting and solid waste management in land pooling pilot projects.

UP Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Planning Nitin Ramesh Gokarn said that under the land pooling model, land parcels would be aggregated from willing and volunteering land owners for development. Post development, the land owners would be given redeveloped plots according to their respective contribution to the pool. He said that it was the most viable option for planned, transparent and equitable method of urban development without facing the hurdles of land acquisition.

A few weeks back, the Adityanath government had relaxed the provision for acquiring gram sabha land, owned by the state, for development and infrastructure projects by allowing payment of compensation according to the prevailing circle/market rates against the existing four times of that rate, which was found to be unviable. 

Earlier, the government had claimed land acquisition hurdles had stalled about 350 infrastructure and industrial development projects in UP and that the state was looking at measures to ease the provisions without compromising the interests of land owners and farmers.     

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