The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has written to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to rework the alignment for its proposed Rithala-Narela Metrolite line under Phase -IV to sync it with the development proposed under the ambitious land pooling policy.
The land pooling policy, which was re-notified in 2018, is aimed at meeting the growing housing requirement by providing 17 lakh dwelling units through planned developed on the outskirts of the city.
A senior DDA official said that the current alignment either does not touch or just passes by the periphery of the existing crucial development areas and the ones that are yet to be developed under the land pooling policy.
A sizable portion of the population where large-scale development is proposed will not benefit from the ₹ 2,900 crore Metrolite project as per the current alignment, a senior DDA official said, requesting anonymity.
DDA vice-chairman Anurag Jain said, “We have requested DMRC to rework the alignment for the Rithala-Narela line so that planned development can take place. It is crossing areas where the land pooling policy will be implemented. We have given our suggestions to DMRC regarding the alignment. Through a coordinated approach, the alignment can be reworked to optimise its benefits to citizens and the city.”
Under the policy, individuals or groups of owners will pool their land for planned development. DDA will prepare a development plan under which, 60% of the pooled land in each sector will be returned to the land-owners for the development of residential, commercial and semi-public facilities while using the remaining to provide basic infrastructure roads, sewer, hospitals, schools, etc.
When contacted, Anuj Dayal, the executive director of corporate communications, DMRC, said, “We decided the alignment for this section in consultation with all stakeholders concerned, including DDA. However, we have received this letter, and the same is being examined and reviewed.”
The Rithala-Narela line is one of six corridors proposed as part of the Metro’s Phase-4 network expansion. The Metro network is currently spread over 389 km in the Delhi-National Capital Region. The proposed 21.7 km-long Metrolite line will have 19 stations. Five at grade and the rest elevated, and will pass through sectors 25, 26, 31, 32 and 36 in Rohini, Barwala, Poothkalan, Bawana industrial areas 1 and 2, Narela, etc.
These areas are part of DDA’s ‘N zone’, which is the first of the five zones to be developed under the land pooling policy. Re-notified in 2018, the policy was initially notified in 2013 aimed at meeting the growing housing requirement in the Capital by providing 17 lakh dwelling units on the outskirts of the city. The fresh development will come up on vacant land in 95 urbanised villages.
DMRC had sent the alignment proposal to DDA last year. Last month, DDA wrote to DMRC asking for the alignment to be reworked. According to a senior DDA official, the current proposed alignment will disturb the sector-wise planning in land pooling areas, as it cuts across sectors such as Sector 20 in the N zone.
“The current Metro alignment is cutting across a sector. In each sector, we have to return 60% of the land to the original owners. The alignment will disturb the development planned under this policy. The line should pass between two sectors so that a large population can benefit from it,” a senior DDA official said.
The DDA official said the alignment is passing through one end of the Bawana industrial area. “If the alignment crosses the middle, then it will benefit many people because those working there can use the Metro. In Narela, the line crosses the green belt and does not touch the areas where residential and commercial development is planned,” an official said.
Urban planning expert Sabyasachi Das, the former commissioner of planning at DDA, said that the lack of public transport has been one of the major reasons for the slow-paced development of Narela and the large number of housing units constructed by DDA lying vacant.
Das said, “Transport infrastructure should be developed along with other infrastructure. This is greenfield development—which is planned development on large parcels of vacant land—therefore there is scope for better planning. In Dwarka, for instance, development in commercial and residential areas picked up only after Metro started its operations. Even today, Narela is not well-connected to the rest of the city. There is no proper public transport system. This is one reason DDA is facing problems in selling its housing project in Narela.”
A senior DDA official said, “DDA and DMRC officials are to hold a meeting to discuss the issue, but it is yet to be planned. The DDA has not referred the issue to the Union housing and urban affairs ministry.”