Land pooling a solution to end acquisition worries, says top Kerala govt lawyer

agriculture land
The AAG said land pooling should be done exclusively through government agencies with grievance redressal mechanisms for stakeholders and with appellate forums. Photo: Shutterstock

Kochi: A statutorily regulated land pooling system can bring an end to a slew of troubles relating to land acquisition for development projects, Kerala’s additional advocate general (AAG) Asok M Cherian has opined.

He said the method can facilitate better implementation of urban development and infrastructural projects.

While in the land acquisition method, the government purchases property from the public for implementing a project, in land pooling a group of landowners hand over their plots to the government collectively for infrastructure development. Once the development is complete, the land is handed over to the original owners, after deducting some portion as the cost for the same.

Cherian was inaugurating the ‘Technical Session on Town Planning Legislations’, the second in a series of three seminars being held in the run-up to the Bodhi National Urban Conclave, in Kochi on Friday.

The AAG said such land pooling should be done exclusively through government agencies with grievance redressal mechanisms for stakeholders and with appellate forums.

“If private agencies are permitted to undertake the process, chances are high that consent from land owners for land pooling will be procured through coercive means.

There is every chance for exploitation of marginalized sections of society. In the said circumstances, in my opinion, the process of land pooling must be statutorily regulated and subjected to supervision and control by governmental agencies,” Cheriyan said.

The AAG said that if land pooling schemes are not restricted to urban development and infrastructural projects, agricultural properties will be usurped and farmers, particularly tenanted agriculturists, will be duped with false promises.

It has also to be statutorily mandated that land pooled for a project will not be used for any other purpose. Strict check measures are needed to ensure this, the AAG said.

In his opinion, land pooling will relieve the authorities concerned of spending large amounts for acquisition while the landholder can aspire for increased value for the developed land. There are also fewer chances of complaints with regard to displacements in this scheme, he said.

Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) chairman K Chandran Pillai chaired the seminar. GCDA secretary K V Abdul Malik presented a paper on ‘Town Planning Legislations’ at the event held at the National Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi.

The third seminar in the series will be held on ‘Urban Financing’ at Kaloor CREDAI Conference Hall on October 3 jointly by GCDA and CREDAI.

The Bodhi National Urban Conclave organised by GDCA will be held at Bolgatty Convention Centre on October 9 and 10.

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