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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

CAG finds lapses in planning, land allotment in Noida in 2005-2018

The allotment of industrial area, the development of which was the primary objective of NOIDA, constituted only 18.38 per cent (34.62 lakh sqm) of the land allotment, the report said.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
January 8, 2022 5:27:52 am
Land allotment for industries got the least priority: CAG

The New Okhla Industrial Development Authority or NOIDA, which was set up in 1976 with a mandate to develop an industrial development area, has been the focus of various governments of Uttar Pradesh because of its proximity to the National Capital with prime plots for industrial, commercial as well as residential and institutional purposes.

However, the very first CAG audit of the land acquisition and its allotment by the Authority between 2005-06 and 2017-18, has found serious lapses in planning, land acquisition, arbitrary pricing, and also allotments.

The audit, which was ordered in 2017, found that right from the development of a Sports City to allotment of farmhouse plots and group housing societies, the Authority deviated from its very mandate.

Instead of allocating land for industrial purposes, the focus of the Authority has been instead on residential, commercial and group housing. Notably, the audit found that as of March 2020, land allotment for industrial purposes got the least priority with only 23 per cent of land allotted for the same, while a whopping 52 per cent allotment was made for residential purposes.

Also, the CAG audit found that the highest land allotments in terms of area – excluding the residential allotment – were made in the 2010-11 financial year. In that year alone, 48.61 lakh sqm area was allotted – roughly a quarter (25.81%) of about 188 lakh sqm area that was allotted during the entire audit period i.e. from 2005-2006 to 2017-2018.

As per the Master Plan-2031, NOIDA had planned to develop an area of 1,527.99 lakh sqm against which it acquired 1,237.58 lakh sqm of land till March 2020, the CAG said in its report. However, between 2005-06 and 2017-18, the Authority allotted only 2,761 properties, covering 188.34 lakh sqm, under different categories, excluding the residential allotment.

Out of 188.34 lakh sqm, 81.62 per cent of the land was allotted for group housing (71.03 lakh sqm or 37.72%), commercial purposes ( 16.84 lakh sqm or 8.94%), Sports City (32.14 lakh sqm or 17%), institutional (15.33 lakh sqm or 8.14%), and farmhouses (18.37 lakh sqm or 9.75%).

The allotment of industrial area, the development of which was the primary objective of NOIDA, constituted only 18.38 per cent (34.62 lakh sqm) of the land allotment, the report said.

Also, most of the land allotments for group housing were made between 2005-06 and 2010-11 — about 98 per cent in terms of area with nearly half of allotments made in 2009-2010 alone, the CAG audit report found.

The audit report said that specific definitions for respective land use categories as given in the Plan Regulations, 1991, were substituted with “very general definitions and clauses” in the Plan Regulations, 2010. It found that the requirement for detailed specification for land uses was dispensed with and NOIDA was empowered to make changes to the Master Plan as it deemed fit.

“These amendments empowered NOIDA to amend the character of the Master Plan conferred greater discretion and reduced the requirements for detailed disclosure in the Master Plans. Consequently, land use conversions were regularised by introducing various activities – viz. Sports City and mixed land use. Schemes not interrelated with the core objective of NOIDA were launched, and various activities not permitted in agriculture use, institutional use and industrial use were allowed, causing loss to NOIDA,” the audit stated.

It found that the dilutions made in the Regulations of 2010 also resulted in NOIDA include commercial activities in industrial and recreational categories that led to allotments at reduced rates and consequential loss to the Authority.

The audit report highlighted that the Sports City scheme was launched “without proper approvals”, and priority was given to housing, villas etc rather than developing sports infrastructure.

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