NEW DELHI: The Delhi Development Authority is sitting on vacant lands worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the capital, the consolidated size of which nearly equals the area of Lutyens' Delhi.
Incredibly, DDA had little idea about the extent of its holdings till the results of an internal survey came in around 10 days ago. It revealed that the authority owned 5,484 acres of undeveloped land, including thousands of square metres in prime locations such as Vasant Kunj and Defence Colony.
If all these plots could be put together in one place, it would yield a 22sq km patch of land — around 85% of the area of Lutyens' Bungalow Zone, which is built on roughly 26sq km.
The results of the survey, for the first time ever, have given DDA a clear picture of its realty assets, some of which the authority did not know about. It is now getting in touch with former MLAs and MPs of these areas to help them decide on how these lands could be developed.
The survey details have been uploaded on the authority's website. It also gives details about thousands of square metres of land, particularly in east and north Delhi, that have been encroached upon. The total area under litigation is around 300 acres.
The information is significant for various reasons. A compiled report on the vacant parcels of land will enable DDA to plan better, For instance 756 acres of public-semi-public land space in various pockets of Rohini means opportunities for amenities such as hospitals, schools, and offices for non-profit organizations in the area.
The huge chunks of land marked for residential use, for instance 54,600 sq m near Dilshad Garden, of which two-thirds is encroached upon, could be freed and used to solve the housing crunch in east Delhi. Around 2,000 acres of land, mostly in north Delhi, which DDA hasn't planned for yet, is a pool whose land-use DDA could decide on a need basis.
The report also provides transparency in DDA's real estate management, which is often subject to charges of corruption. The authority is working towards uploading layout plans of each of it plots.
"This is for the first time in DDA's history that the whole inventory of land, whose worth we estimate to be more than Rs 1 lakh crore, has been compiled and put in the public domain. Technology is being leveraged to ensure its protection and monitoring," said Balvinder Kumar, vice-chairperson, DDA.
He added that uploading details of the land would serve to prevent underhand deals and the possibility of DDA officers colluding with the land mafia.
Kumar said, with this newly acquired information, DDA was looking at auctioning land that has been earmarked for commercial use. "Also we are looking to redefine land uses. The land use was earmarked a long time ago. Based on current needs, we may change industrial land use to residential," he said.
DDA has earlier changed the status of several pockets of land to 'mixed use'. As housing now has a higher priority than before, the authority is looking to tap into its combined land pool to identify sites for group housing societies.
The authority is also working to have all its land parcels geo-tagged and mapped monthly. Officials said they have contacted the National Productivity Council and Geospatial Data Limited [GSDL] to help them with imaging DDA's land.
"We will try to get fortnightly or at least a monthly update of activity on our lands. And as soon as we find traces of encroachment, we will waste no time in acting against it," said Kumar.