The Town Planning Scheme (TPS) makes land available for urbanisation by pooling and readjusting lands and appropriating areas for public purposes through negotiations between the local planning authority and landowners.
Ahmedabad City in Gujarat state, through the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), has undertaken urban expansion using the Danilimda TPS to integrate land use planning and service provision.
Significant rural-to-urban migration in Indian cities is aggravating the existing challenges of unplanned urbanisation, informal settlements, and the provision of basic services, particularly to low-income populations.
Indian cities such as Ahmedabad are facing the challenge of unavailability of public land and difficulty in acquiring land for infrastructure, due to India’s privately owned land regime. Government agencies have to balance public needs and private land rights, and negotiate with original landowners, while being flexible about accommodating the existing informal settlements.
The area considered by the Danilimda TPS contains part of a large informal settlement called the Bombay Hotel, which developed in response to communal violence in 2002 and the city’s segmentation along religious lines. The settlement experienced rapid, extensive development prior to and during preparation of the draft TPS.
Residents of the Bombay Hotel informal settlement protested during the preliminary TPS phase in 2013, fearing the acquisition and subsequent demolition of their homes.
The TPS enabled the planning authority to appropriate land for public purposes in a negotiated and non-coercive way, allowing the city to provide land for public purposes such as low-income housing, open spaces, roads, underlying utility infrastructure, and social amenities.
Under the TPS process, private landowners provided a portion of their land for public development (e.g. parks, roads, or low-income housing), and received compensation for the appropriated land less betterment charges (based on costs of the infrastructure investment and a higher land value despite the now-reduced land holding).
As a solution to protests from residents of the Bombay Hotel informal settlement, the TPS’ green and open space requirements and reservations for other social amenities were removed to accommodate this existing informal settlement.
State of Gujarat
2003-2004 – Preliminary Land Surveys conducted
August 2005 – Submission of Draft TPS Area 2 to State Government
October 2006 – Sanctioning of Draft TPS Area 2 by State Government
October 2006 – Town Planning Officer appointed to TPS Area 2
February 2007 – Submission of Draft TPS Area 1 to State Government
February 2009 – Sanctioning of Draft TPS Area 1 by State Government
July 2009 – Town Planning Officer appointed to TPS Area 1
In progress – Development of Preliminary TPS Area 1 and 2 – typically takes 11 months and nine months if required
Awaiting initiation – Development and Sanctioning of Final TPS – typically takes four months.
Results / impact
Ahmedabad has implemented the TPS mechanism effectively and has been able to acquire land from private landowners and allocate them for public use by helping AMC in undertaking negotiations with landowners to readjust plot boundaries and accommodate existing informal settlements.
The TPS has enabled land to be acquired for urban extensions in the city’s periphery while accommodating informal settlements in the planning process. The TPS included provision of social housing units where national funds were available for this purpose and acquired land from other government departments for a water and sewage utility network to service informal settlements where public land was previously unavailable.
Key lessons learnt
Any planning and land acquisition mechanism must be sensitive to trade-offs and make decisions that deliver equitable outcomes for all residents. In the case of the Danilimda TPS, this meant minimising demolitions of informal settlements at the expense of provisioning for green and open space and other social amenities at normative levels.
This flexibility helped minimise conflicts with residents of the Bombay Hotel informal settlement.
In practice, there were significant time delays due to a lack of staff and not appointing enough Town Planning Officers (TPOs). As a result, the TPOs have been forced to divide their attention between multiple TPSs.