NEW DELHI: Less than two months after an internal survey revealed that the Delhi Development Authority was sitting on undeveloped land roughly the size of Lutyens' Delhi, the authority has discovered more such 'goldmines' in the capital.
It now turns out that DDA's vacant landholdings in Delhi total up to 7,000 acres, 1,500 acres more than what the survey revealed.
Part of this additional land was added by DDA's assistant engineers after being directed to file an affidavit stating no more undeclared DDA land remained in their zones. Some local politicians and social workers also helped DDA identify their land parcels across the city.
DDA now owns 1,742 plots in various zones of Delhi, about 90 of which are encroached upon and close to 40 under litigation. The greatest chunk of vacant land, ready for development, is in Narela (northwest Delhi). South Delhi too has yielded a surprisingly large 145 acres of land.
The results of the first-of-its-kind internal survey of DDA land, completed in November last year, revealed that the authority owned 5,484 acres of undeveloped tracts in the city. The authority's now working to protect and develop its recently discovered gold mine.
Senior DDA officials say identifying their lands was a challenging task, but only the first step towards managing the resource.
"Identifying our land parcels was quite tough. Nobody wanted to share information with us. I had to ask engineers to sign affidavits that no more undeclared land lay in their jurisdiction and push other agencies to reveal information. Several individuals came forward to help us as well," said Balvinder Kumar, vice-chairperson, DDA.
The next step is to protecting the land that's not yet been encroached upon. "We have uploaded information of all our resources on a cloud-based software, which can be accessed from anywhere. Our officers have been given android-based smartphones with camera, and have been asked to photograph land parcels in their jurisdiction," said a senior authority official.
The official added that these photographs carrying a geographical time-stamp will be periodically uploaded on the software. The procedure is meant to instill timely monitoring of the land parcels and accountability for DDA's engineers.
DDA has also engaged a private firm to satellite-map and photograph its land. "The photos will be compared from time to time and construction or any deviation in any case will be reported to our quick response teams will be immediately rushed to the spot," Kumar added. DDA has set up five QRTs to protect its lands.
The third step, one of planning and allotting its vacant lands, will be taken in a few days. "After we get all the data, we'll begin the process of utilizing the land optimally. We want to give land to group housing societies, for construction of flats for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and at the same time for high-end luxury flats, for flats for senior citizens, and for social infrastructure including hospitals," said Kumar.