Terming the government the most inefficient land utiliser, Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday said he had been urging various ministries to better their record on this front.
Speaking on the issues and challenges in land economics at a workshop here, Nath said flawed land policies in Delhi have led to the development of 1,640 illegal colonies, now home to almost four million people.
He said India used land inefficiently and had one of the lowest floor area ratio (FAR), just four when compared to 10 in rest of the world. If one discounted the area covered by mountains, forests, desert and waterbodies, India is a very dense country.
Even in market-driven countries, land is controlled and its use separated. How much to regulate is the question before India, he said.
An FAR restriction is leading to increase in land prices, but the solution is not to deregulate at once, but to give right doses of regulation. “I have no hesitation in saying that the regulation system has not been successful,” said Nath. The minister said since a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the UK and India on issues of urban development initiatives, things have moved very fast.
Nath added that he would like to seek the expertise from the UK for heritage management. Many of the heritage structures and houses of Governors in India were built by the British.
Speaking at the workshop, Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor (Planning) in London, said both London and Delhi faced similar problems, only the scale differed.
Of the 600 top cities in the world, 136 would drop out in future and cities from the East and South America would take their spots.