The Delhi government has taken strong exception to the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) new policy of allowing construction of ‘country homes’ on plots as small as one acre.
Government sources said the ‘new farmhouse policy’ is in contravention of the Delhi Land Reforms Act 1954 — which prevents fragmentation of agricultural land in the city.
The DDA had cleared 27 villages, mostly located on the periphery of the Capital, identified as low-density residential areas, allowing farmhouses on an area of minimum one-acre under the name of ‘country homes’.
By doing so, it reduced the earlier mandatory requirement of minimum 2.5 acres for such development.
The floor area ratio of these farmhouses was also increased. These 27 villages include Satbari, Chattarpur, Fatehpur Beri, Asola, Kapashera, Ghitorni, Rangpuri and Bijwasan. As soon as the DDA came up with the policy, land prices in these villages went up and are likely to spike further after the final notification.
The proposal is now pending with the Union ministry of urban development for final ratification.
The ministry will notify the new policy. Even as DDA’s new policy awaits final notification from the government, the L-G (who is also the chairman of the DDA) has asked the divisional commissioner of Delhi to “issue instructions to the district revenue authorities” not to initiate punitive action against any such farmhouses.
Senior officials in the L-G office, however, claimed that proper procedure has been followed while framing the policy, including inviting suggestions and objections from public.
“The Delhi Land Reforms Act is an law framed by Parliament and no policy can supersede the law unless amendments are made by the legislature. The administrative instructions that have come from the L-G office imply that the revenue department should turn a blind eye to illegalities. We have already informed the L-G office that it cannot be done and we are now taking up the matter with the Delhi Chief Minister,” said a source.
As per the prescribed revenue norms, if an agricultural piece of land is fragmented below an optimum limit, the revenue officials — under Section 81 of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954 — can issue notice to the land owner. Such land can even be invested to the Gram Sabha or the common land of the village.
Sources said the new policy can easily be challenged in a court of law.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation had also objected to the new farmhouse policy, alleging that it was an attempt to usurp the civic body’s authority over the farmhouses.