Kerala, where land acquisition has always been an issue, a ‘Community Land Trust’ (CLT) model on the lines of those in countries like the US and UK has been put forth by the Planning Board in its ‘Kerala Perspective Plan 2030’ which could help in effective land acquisition.
According to the Planning Board, the ‘Community Land Trust Model’ will help in developing land for housing, workspaces and other facilities. A highlight of the model is that the land-owners will not be alienated from the land that has been acquired for the various developmental activities.
The Planning Board proposes that the CLT should be a non-profit, community-based organisation run by volunteers, including land owners. It is reported that over 200 community land trusts have now been established throughout the United States, with pilot schemes being carried out in Canada and the UK.
As per the CLT model, there will be dual ownership – the ownership of land will be retained by land-owners and buildings on the land can be sold. With respect to the leased land, the owners of the building are provided with the exclusive use of the land, the Perspective draft notes.
The CLT will retain an option to repurchase structures on the land when the owners decide to sell and the resale price is to be set by a formula in the ground lease.
The administration of the CLT will be vested with a board, which will have representation from the lease holders, community and public leaders. Two- thirds of the governing body will be community members. The Planning Board said that the important aspect is to ensure that the local population is part of the growth and development strategy.
The Planning Board says that the CLT can acquire land from its members and also from outside.
It can also receive public land at little or no cost; purchase a rural exception site at about agricultural value; acquire a site at open market value, through access to grant funding or community share issues; already own a site that is permitted for development.
The Planning Board proposes that land must be acquired by the government for developmental purposes and it should not be entrusted with private companies.
Once the land is pooled, the Trust may give it to a developer for commercial use, the Perspective Plan says.