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Government to adopt land-pooling method for airport expansion

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Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman, Guruprasad Mohapatra has stated that, Central Government is working on adopting the ‘Land Pooling’ methodology as an alternative mechanism for development and expansion of airports.

What is ‘Land Pooling’?

Under ‘Land Pooling’ mechanism, various land owners pool their land and hand it over to the infrastructure development authority. These land owners get back 60-70% of their land after infrastructure is developed on it. This 60-70% land will have much higher valuation as compared to the total 100% holding before the infrastructure was developed. On the other hand, the 30-40% of land retained by the developer (without paying acquisition cost) is used to fulfill its objective. Thus, ‘Land-Pooling’, theoretically turns out to be a win-win situation for the land holder as well as for the developer.

  • ‘Land-Pooling’ methodology for urban development has so far been adopted in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Currently, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad has been assigned a task to explore the possibility of adopting ‘Land-Pooling’ for development of three Greenfield airports and expansion of three brownfield airports.

‘Land Pooling’ as an alternate mechanism to ‘Land Acquisition’ for Airport Expansion:

Indian aviation space has witnessed a significant surge in air passenger traffic in recent years. In order to accommodate this growth, AAI has already chalked out plans to expand current capacities of terminals and bays at airports. However the increased capacity too will be saturated on account of high growth and more land will be needed for further expansion.

  • So far, State Governments were providing the land free of cost to AAI. However, since January 2015, when the First Schedule to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 came in to force, cost of acquiring land for State governments has shot up significantly and they have become reluctant to acquire and hand over the land to AAI for expansion.
  • In this situation, ‘Land Pooling’ emerges as the only available and viable alternative for airports expansion.