At the public hearings on modifications to the DDA’s land pooling policy, rural landowners voiced concerns that certain conditions of the policy will marginalise them completely. Public hearings are being held by a Board of Enquiry, on objections and suggestions over modifications in the land pooling policy which were introduced in January. The policy affects 95 Delhi villages which come under five zones, and have been notified as ‘urbanisable’.
Hearings saw concerns raised by both developers, who have bought land in the villages to participate in land pooling, and land-owning farmers.
Primary concern of the farmers is their inability to pay the External Development Charge (EDC) demanded of them. According to the policy, they will retain 60 per cent of the land they give for pooling, and hand over 40 per cent to public bodies to develop civic infrastructure. However, the expenses for this will be raised through EDC collected from landowners, which according to the original policy would amount to Rs 2 crore per acre of land meant for pooling.
The EDC amount has been rephrased as ‘per actual cost’, but farmers believe that the final amount will not differ much from the previous Rs 2 crore per acre. “I own eight acres of land, and my earnings from it in a good year comes up to Rs 50,000. Am I supposed to pay Rs 16 crore as EDC?,” said Ram Kumar Rana from Nangli Poona.