No recourse for retail buyers in Delhi land pooling

 

 

DDA kept advertising that individual buyers should refrain from buying till the law was notified but the association members assured her there was nothing to worry about

 

Seema Goel of Ahmedabad thought she had planned her retirement well. Five years ago, she bought into a Cooperative Group Housing Society for a 1200 sq ft flat in the L-zone, on the assurance from one of her relatives that Delhi’s land pooling was through. She bought into a society along with her relative, who was a member of a professionals’ society formed by officers of a Govt. institution. The idea was that she would be able to live close to her relatives when she shifted back to Delhi after retirement.

 

The first set-back was when the process got delayed with the Delhi chief minister refusing to sign until some conditions were met.

 

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) kept advertising that individual buyers should refrain from buying till the law was notified but the association members assured her there was nothing to worry about.

 

She also paid Rs 10-12 lakh each that the members were required to pay towards purchase of the 5+ acres that the society bought from the land owners/farmers.

 

“The land pooling policy as would be notified in its final form, would be significantly different than what these societies have calculated”, says land expert Ramesh Menon of Certes Realty.

 

The first is that Delhi does not register Cooperative Group Housing Societies since the mid-1990s, explains Menon. Goel’s society and many others are registered in other states as a multi-state Cooperative Group Housing Society.

 

The original draft allowed an FAR of 400 which has been reduced to 200 in the new draft. As a result when the society was formed, there was absolutely no clarity, either on the Density norms, FAR or the total number of apartments that would be allowed to be built per acre.

 

Numbers vary between 50 – 100 apartments, calculated at random by different societies. With the reduction in FAR, the total number of apartments that can be built might be as low as 30% of the original calculations by some societies. Then, questions Menon, how will all the members get their houses?

 

The promoter has land which is paid for by more members than can be accommodated. However, the earlier plan was that DDA would aggregate all the land, draw up master plans and hand over 60% developed land back to the original owners.

 

In that scenario, the smallest land holders would get proportional developed land from the authorities. That clause has undergone a change. While DDA is expected to draw up the zonal plans, the sectoral plans are now to be made by the Developer Entities (DE) who will create the sectoral level layouts.

 

Smaller land holders are apprehensive that they may well be added to the perimeters where the land values and services may be weak. No safeguards against this has been spelled out in the document passed by DDA and issued by the LG of Delhi.

 

However, the Seema Goels of the world cannot complain either. They had bought into a hope that early buys would get them cheaper homes. With a draft that assured equal rights, regardless of the size of holding, it seemed a risk worth taking. Can they look back and say it was wise?

 

Source: ET Realty
Dated: 28th September 2018

 

 

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