Prime Land In Major Indian Cities May Be Unlocked For Residential Use
Property prices are continuously on a rise because the land is scarce and in turn, expensive. The need of the hour is to unlock government-owned land which may not be serving any purpose.
In 2016, the NITI Aayog had suggested that 17 sick government-run units be shut down. This suggestion received the Prime Minister Office’s (PMO’s) approval as well. Most of these units have vast tracts of land which was leased out by the state governments. These governments could auction freehold land to private bidders who could use it for residential or commercial use.
In 2013, the Union Cabinet gave its approval to the proposal of the Indian Railways for permitting the use of its land for crossing the underground Metro networks, on the surface as well as elevated. The Indian Railways allowed opening of Kendriya Vidyalayas on its land to provide adequate educational facilities to the children of the railways staff placed in remote areas, and where educational institutions are not adequate. It was also decided that exchange of the railway land with the central/state governments, department/local bodies for setting up public utilities shall also be entered by the Indian Railways, wherever considered mutually beneficial. This year, the Indian Railways is planning to bring in as much as Rs 25,000 crore by unlocking its property in prime areas and putting it up for redevelopment.
So, what are the prime areas where land will be unlocked? These include Connaught Place, Nizamuddin and Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, besides premium land in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune are on the radar. As per sources, such land could be offered to developers on lease for 99 years, clocking in revenue for both the railways and developers while homebuyers can enjoy a life of convenience and luxury. Reports also suggest that Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had taken the prospects of redevelopment with real estate developers last month and we could hope for more land bank in top cities in days to come.
Given that the authorities wish to go the redevelopment route, it is not difficult to gauge that existing development cost would be high even if the land is available. However, such development should be mutually beneficial for all stakeholders. Retrofitting and redevelopment will then go hand in hand if the government rolls out incentives. If sub-cities are being planned, then infrastructure should also be a preliminary focus given infrastructure is hard to be fit into established areas once the population checks in. Most of all, bureaucracy and its ‘tyranny’ as most private players would see it as should be checked with regulatory norms made easier to comply with.