Land policies in Delhi : their contribution to unauthorised land development
Government intervention in land markets through public land policies increasingly sought for a more balanced development, better income and wealth distribution, and to satisfy the basic human needs such as housing and essential services in developing countries. Delhi's large-scale land acquisition, development and disposal policy has aimed at orderly growth of planned development, and universal access to housing land through public expropriation, banking, development and delivery. But the policy has been widely criticised for failing to promote planned development and consequently creating large-scale illegal land developments and sales. The present research investigates the impact of Delhi's public land policy on the creation of informal land developments and unauthorised housing in Delhi. The analysis of data gathered from office records and exhaustive structured interviews yield substantial evidence that the large-scale land policy governing the public authority's delivery of land for housing, has indeed been a major contributor to the creation of unauthorised land development and sales. Through interviews with 300 households living on illegally developed land, 106 living on illegally resold (legally developed land), 28 who had illegally resold their plots, and 69 property agents, this study found that the large-scale public land policy has not provided adequate land for housing. The policy's inability to deliver timely and adequate quantities of affordable land in varying parcel sizes, and with flexible lease conditions, was a prime factor in encouraging a large number of households to opt for illegally developed or sold land. The responses of households indicate a substantial number sought illegally to obtain housing land, because the large-scale public land policy failed to offer them legal alternatives that were affordable, adequate in quantity, in the desired time and flexible in their lease conditions. The opportunities to obtain varying sizes of unauthorised plots, at cheaper prices, in the desired time, with flexible payments, and acceptable terms of construction and use have attracted a large number of middle and high income households. Equally, the policy of regularisation of some unauthorised developments has also encouraged investment in additional illegal development. This research also found that the public land policy's failure to deliver the right land to the right person at reasonable prices prompted unauthorised resales of legally developed plots, in effect, downward filtration of high income groups. The higher resale prices that these subsidised plots obtained, and the ability of some households to obtain an allocation of more than one plot encouraged a large number of households to illegally resell plots.