With rapid urbanisation, NCR is set to become a megapolis. Is the Capital set for a new skyline?
On June 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the ambitious Rs. 48,000-crore Smart City project. For the Capital, the project is bound to catalyse urbanisation with several “Smart Sub-Cities” expected to come up in the future. The Centre has already cleared the decks for implementation of the project by introducing the “Land Pooling Policy”.
For Delhi, the biggest curse has been unplanned urbanisation. Failure to deal with rampant unauthorised construction along with multiplicity of authority has weakened any remote scope of “development through blueprints”. In fact, the situation is so watertight that the land-owning agency, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), has been unable to acquire a single additional plot for over a decade now. Further, Delhi’s population is expected to increase from 1.82 crore to 2.3 crore in just six years. In such a scenario, the only way is to look beyond the haphazardly developed city and focus on its fringes. The Land Pooling or Land Assembly policy will play a pivotal role here as it would make the concept of unauthorised colonies obsolete by bringing in fundamental changes in acquisition and development of land. It is expected that 20,000-25,000 hectares of land will be unlocked through this policy, thereby resulting in the creation of 24 lakh houses.
What is Land Pooling Policy?
Under the policy, interested land owners can surrender their land and give it to the DDA along with a development charge. The DDA, in turn, will give the land to real estate developers. Once developed, the developer entity or land owners who surrendered their land will get back 48 per cent or 60 per cent of what they pooled in. The rest of the developed area — 52 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively — will be retained by DDA or the private builder who can put it on sale. The housing and commercial projects will have to be developed within seven years. Additional time will be given only on payment of a penalty.
Once implemented in Delhi, the project can also be carried forward to the National Capital Region (NCR).
How will the Sub-Cities be created?
The plots surrendered will be clubbed for holistic development, leading to the creation of several sub-cities. Land owners can also assemble lands through mutual agreement and give it as one large plot to the DDA. The DDA in its zonal plans has ear-marked specific usages of land in these areas with developers building the sub-cities according to a prescribed blueprint. There are nine land use categories that include residential, commercial, industry, transportation, utility, public and semi-public facility, recreational, among others.
How will they become “Smart Sub-Cities”?
The Government of India (GoI) will announce the “Guidelines to Smart Cities” on June 25. It will be binding on private developers and the DDA to ensure that these are followed. The smart sub-cities will have 24-hour water and power supply, high-speed wi-fi connectivity, Transit-Oriented Development Model, efficient solid-waste management system and green buildings.
Two major Smart Cities in the making
If experts are to be believed, Delhi is the ideal city to flag off the Smart City project. Out of the five zones, at least two — Zone L and N — have the required physical and economic characteristics to evolve as self-sufficient smart sub-cities. ‘Zone J’ is the smallest with just one village (Neb Sarai) while ‘Zone L’, which is next to Dwarka, is the largest with an area of 22,840 hectares. It includes parts of Najafgarh, Dichaon Kalan, Qazipur, Samaspur Khalsa, etc. This is followed by ‘Zone N’, which covers an area of 13,975 hectares and includes villages like Kanjhawla, parts of Bawana, Chandpur, Salahpur Majra, and so on.