NITI AAYOG PRAISES LAND POOLING METHOD FOR AP CAPITAL
The voluntary ‘land pooling’ method adopted by the Andhra Pradesh government for development of the state’s new capital Amaravati has been praised by the NITI Aayog, which said it is a “model to the nation” in land acquisition. In its report “State Forward-Best Practices from our States”, the Aayog noted that land pooling is “one of the best practices of Government of Andhra Pradesh” that successfully converted “a problem into a solution”. “Now, many leading commentators are suggesting this land pooling model to the nation on land acquisition,” it added.
“It is probably for the first time in the country’s history that nearly 33,000 acres of fertile land was voluntarily given away by small as well as rich farmers for a public cause. The unprecedented response from landowners left the observers surprised all the more because desperate attempts were made to instigate farmers against participating in the land pooling,” the NITI Aayog observed. “The entire exercise of land pooling for the brand new capital was completed in three months. What turned the tide was the novel scheme in which landowners were made stakeholders in the development of an urban agglomeration and even the critics admitted the plan worked out well,” it said. “Following bifurcation of the state (in June 2014), Andhra Pradesh was left with the responsibility of building a capital city. It has been on a lookout for a huge piece of land to be acquired to build its ultra-modern capital. “As the state is experiencing financial constraints, and in view of possible legal obligations involved in the land acquisition process, the state government put forward an innovative idea of involving farmers in the building of the new capital city Amaravati,” said the report.