Land is undoubtedly one of the most valuable immovable assets because its non-diminishing economic value increases quite few times when there is any infrastructure or social development in the surrounding areas. The cities grow in prospects and when the need for more infrastructure and public utilities become more poignant government has to take resort to acquisition of land owned by the private parties and citizens.
No doubt that land acquisition by the government and the local authorities has been a contentious issue and it is under the jurisdiction of the state government which generally follows the compulsory acquisition routes. In this case the compensation that will be paid for any piece of land is normally determined by each state and the municipality or the local authorities. But whatever may be the procedure of acquisition the state government have been noticed to acquire such land at a throw away price and have auctioned the land at a much higher prices to private parties. There are enough instances of these.
The government has always been marginalizing the economic benefits arising out of the proceeds of the land. The original title holders of the land have always been marginalized. This kind of a scenario has made the government to go for alternative methods of land acquisition and also sourcing and developing land with more equitable distribution of the economic benefits to the land owners and all the parties which would allow the landowner to benefit from the development process. In contrast let us look at the concept of land pooling.
Land pooling is aimed at a very efficient and equitable land development with all the interests being divided in a manner of equitable justice. The idea is to bring the uneven land distribution pattern of the fragmented land in to a larger holding of land parcel. After that the whole land parcel is developed and is subsequently returned to the original title holders applying a formula of deduction of a fair amount of land for development. The formula applied allows the authority to compensate for the development of the infrastructure and the services that were generated and added and allowing them to retain a part of the so acquired original land.
It may seem complicated but this approach of pooling the fragmented land is a very practical and an effective way of achieving development while promoting simultaneous social justice as well. Land pooling necessarily involves the active participation of the state as well as the central governments for policy formulation, approvals, notifications and formulating the operating norms. It is up to the local agencies to create a proper and effective land valuation mechanism so that the landowners are willing to donate land.
In this way the land pooling mechanism proposes to create an ecosystem of development with equitable justice through planned infrastructural development which would support the growth of the urban areas. This is also a way combining irregular land holdings in to larger and more developed stretches of land with social empowerment while simultaneously ensuring the sustainable development issues too.
Not only that from the title perspective too, the land pooling system also proposes to create and conserve the land title and the ownership of the land too. In turn this also creates a transparent land registry system too which would eventually help in enhancing land revenues for the local authorities to undertake more developmental projects. Thus the experts suggest that a more comprehensive solution to the contentious issue of land acquisition of India would be not to buy land but to pool it. No doubt the developed whole of the land with more infrastructure makes more value than the fragmented pieces of land.