Haryana Land Pooling Policy, 2019 – A step towards Partnership in Infrastructural Development
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Government land acquisition techniques have undergone substantial developments and amendments. Whether it be in the form of full-fletched enactments or policies, the topic of land acquisition has maintained its position on the stance of priority on account of its importance in the infrastructural development of the State.
While these policies and enactments have been diverse, their implementation has faced certain obstructions due to reasons ranging from the unavailability of land to the inability to purchase the same on account of extravagant quotation of prices by the landowners. The cumulative effect of these reasons has been a delayed development of various States and Cities within India in a time when infrastructural development has become the pedestal on which the overall progress of the countries are considered.
In light of this impending effect, in July 2022, the State Government of Haryana recently enacted the Haryana Land Pooling Policy, 2019 (HLPP) , with the innovate proposal of offering land in exchange of land to the owners, thus seeking to create a partnership between the Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) and the land owners for an effective urban development. The fundamental objective of the policy has been specified to be the evolution of a fair and transparent mechanism for pooling of land for the purposes of the development of a sector or a part’. The Policy, which was approved by the Haryana Government in July 2022, seeks to attain a planned development by way of voluntary participation of land owners.
With an applicability over all state citizens who are willing to offer the lands, which they own or reside in and which are located in the controlled areas of Haryana, The HLPP has sought to bring a positive infrastructural change even in the most shadowed areas of the State. Not only this, but by keeping the landowners in a continuous loop with respect to the status and kind of development, the HLPP has been widely praised for its uniqueness and transparency. A summarized view of the different provisions of the policy has been provided hereinafter.
Bird – View of the HLPP
As aforementioned, presently, the HLPP has been designed in a way to be applicable to some ‘controlled areas’ within the State of Haryana. In line with the data released by the Department of Town and Country Planning in Haryana, as at 2020, the state had a total of 516 controlled areas with the maximum number located in the city of Gurugram (116).
In its initial phase of implementation, the HLPP has only been extended to such areas, however, it is unclear whether its applicability will be extended to other areas in the future.
The scheme has been designed to stand – alone and seeks to override the applicability of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy of Haryana on grounds of reasonable compensation being available in terms of a developed piece of land and to run parallel to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2014. As per the scheme, the allotment of the developed land would take place through a draw of lots whereafter the allotted ‘landowners’ would be entitled to utilize the same either for residential or commercial purposes, as the case may be.
Pooling is available for all willing participants who are exclusive owners of a piece of land. Such owners can file their documents over the HSVP website (www.hsvphry.or.in) whereafter the authority will take the contiguous pieces of land into account for development. The requests would only be considered after the issuance of an Expression of Interest (EOI) by the government.
The scheme further specifies that in a case where the allotted land is in fractions of standard sizes, the landowners will be entitled to a monetary compensation for such fraction and that any such monetary compensation shall be in line with the floating circle rate.
In addition to the aforementioned, the scheme has also provides a beneficial advantage to the landowners wherein it has stated that endeavors will be made to allot lands to the latter in the same sector/scheme, where their original land was located.
Limitations on usage of Allotted Land:
The allotted landowners have been restricted to make use of such land for any purpose other than the one for which the development of the entire land has taken place (designated purpose). Furthermore, fragmentation of the allotted land has been completely barred ‘under any circumstances’.
Clause 6 of the policy mentions the provision of Rs.60,000 per acre per month subsistence allowance to the land owners until the possession of the developed land is handed over. Such hefty and charming compensation may prove to be beneficial for the government and bring an increased participation from the civilians.
Contingency Plan for Delay in Development of Land:
The fact of the preparation made by HLPP seeking to cover all contingencies is apparent from clause 7, wherein it has been specified that in a case where the development of land is not completed within 5 months or within such extended time as specified by the HSVP, the scheme would automatically be deemed to have been closed and the land must be duly returned to their respective owners without any claims by the authorities regarding its maintenance. In addition to this, the landowners have been entitled to keep the subsistence allowance which was earlier paid to them during the development phase.
A Beneficial Quid Pro Quo
A mere perusal of the aforementioned brief makes it amply evident that the HLPP scheme has been designed in a manner as to keep both parties, that is, the government (HSVP) as well as the individuals, at an equal advantageous pedestal. In so much so, that where the government will be aided by the easement in acquiring land without an additional financial burden, the scheme will simultaneously ensure the readiness of the owners to part with their land on account of a sure promise of not only additional but prodigious returns.
Moreover, the clause pertaining to the return of such land in case of the expiry of a limited period is assured to act as another enabling provision for promising the owners of an ascertained positive result as well as to keep the HSVP and other development officials on foot towards a swift completion of the development.
It may be pertinent to note that the many promising provisions of the HLPP have made it prima facie apparent that at every stage of land pooling, there will be an unblemished maintenance of transparency and accountability by the authorities, thereby furthering the policy’s objective to treat the landowners as partners in the process rather than neglecting them altogether, which in turn was a proven effect of the previous laws and policies. Thus the HLPP is rightful in claiming itself to be a ‘fair and transparent mechanism for pooling of land for development of a sector’.
As aforementioned, the concept of land pooling is not new to India and has been used by States and discussed in detail by the Apex Court. Even in the celebrated case of Bondu Ramaswamy vs Bangalore Development Authority & Ors , the Hon’ble Supreme Court had indirectly provided the need for such policy by observing that,
“Where the acquisition is for urban development (either by formation of housing colonies by Development Authorities or by making bulk allotment to colonisers, developers or housing societies), there is no scope for providing benefits like employment or a share in the equity. But the landlosers can be given a share in the development itself, by making available a reasonable portion of the developed land to the landloser so that he can either use it personally or dispose of a part and retain a part or put it to other beneficial use. Such a model makes the land-loser a stake-holder and direct beneficiary of the acquisition leading to co-operation for the urban development scheme.”
In a further reference to this case, the Hon’ble Court, in the case of Amarjit Singh & Ors vs State of Punjab, C.A. No. 8431/2010 , observed that,
“To the credit of the State of Punjab we must say that it has formulated a Land Pooling Scheme which is owner- friendly and provides greater incentives for the owners to readily give up their lands whenever the same are needed for a public purpose.”
Thus, it can be rightfully claimed that the deduction that the HLPP is a positive approach to land development and that the same can bring about a positive development in terms of infrastructure. Even the personnel who have a positive perspective towards the future of this policy and have stated that it is;
“(sic) A step forward for making land bank available for major urbanization and industrialization purposes. As the land owners will be partners in the development process, the policy aims at offering maximum benefit to them by linking the allotment of land with the cost of raw land.” 
Furthermore, a mere perusal of the provisions of the HLPP make it apparent that the same has been exercised in a way which will benefit the landowners as well as the authorities. With both sides of the coin being well polished, it is undisputable that the HLPP is a step towards the future of infrastructural development of the State and that, with an unhinged and effective implementation, it may give an unmatched boost to urban development and infrastructure.
– Bondu Ramaswamy vs Bangalore Development Authority & Ors, C.A. No. 4097/2010.
– Amarjit Singh & Ors vs State of Punjab, C.A. No. 8431/2010.
– Statesman News Service, Haryana Cabinet approves the land pooling policy, The Statesman July 29, 2022, 9:19 P.M.