How to convert Agricultural land to Residential in India? The Complete Process

Published on:
December 23, 2023

If you're thinking of building your own home on a piece of land instead of going for a ready-made apartment, it's important to check if the land is legally clear. In a big farming country like India, you need to make sure the land is approved for building a house, not meant for agriculture.

According to the law, you can't build a house or any other structure on land without converting it from agricultural to residential/commercial use. Fertile land is strictly reserved for farming, so building on it without approval is against the law. Since farming is a big deal in India, involving about 58% of the population, the land must go through a legal process for approval. This process also checks if the land is suitable for living, known as 'land-use conversion.' If you're wondering how to convert agricultural land to residential land, don't worry—this blog has all the details you need! 

Laws Governing Conversion of Agricultural Land to Residential

If you're thinking of turning agricultural land into a residential area, it's important to know that the laws for this can vary between states. Depending on the state you're interested in, you'll need to talk to either the district revenue department or the planning authority. Each state has its own rules for land conversion since land matters are handled by individual states. If you're dealing with multiple pieces of agricultural land, you might have to approach a higher authority than the revenue or planning department.

Using agricultural land for homes or businesses without permission is a big no-no under state laws. For example, in Delhi, you could face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to INR 10 lakhs for doing this without permission, according to the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954. As part of the process of conversion of land from agricultural to residential, owners usually have to pay a conversion charge. Who you need to get permission from varies by region; in Rajasthan, it could be the tehsildar, while in Bihar, housing project developers need approval from the sub-divisional officer. In Karnataka, it's the commissioner of the land revenue department who gives the okay for land conversion. In Punjab and Haryana, it's the town planning department. Uttarakhand follows the Uttarakhand Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act (ZALR Act), and in Delhi, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) issues permits for land conversion. 

How to Convert Agricultural Land to Residential?

Changing the purpose of land, like turning farmland into homes or businesses, is called land conversion. In India, this process involves a few steps:

  • Apply: Start by applying for land conversion at the local revenue department or urban development authority. Explain what the land is used for now and what you want to use it for.
  • Check: The authorities will review your application and visit the site to see if it's suitable for the new use.
  • Get Clearances: Your application goes through different departments like town planning and the environment for approval.
  • Tell the Public: They'll announce your plans to the public through newspapers and on-site notices, asking for opinions.
  • Decision Time: Based on feedback, the authorities decide whether to approve your request. If yes, they issue a conversion order.
  • Pay Up: You'll need to pay a conversion fee, which depends on factors like location and size.
  • Update Records: Lastly, update land records by applying for "mutation," showing the new use category. That's it! 

After looking at how to convert agricultural land to residential, let’s look at how much time this process takes.

How Much Time Does Land Conversion Take in India?

The time it takes to convert land in India varies but usually takes several months to a year. A few things can make it longer:

  • Clearances: More departments involved mean more time for approvals.
  • Public Feedback: If people have concerns, authorities need to address them, slowing things down.
  • Location: Some places are faster due to simple procedures, while others might be slower because of bureaucratic delays.
  • Land Size: Bigger plots need more paperwork and clearances, making the process longer. 

Documents Needed for Converting Agricultural Land to Residential Use

No matter which state you're in, it's crucial to know the documents required for turning land from farming to residential. The essential papers, along with your conversion application, include:

  • Your ID
  • A copy of the sale deed
  • If inherited, a copy of the partition deed
  • RTC (Record of Rights, Tenancy, and Crops)
  • Documents showing land mutation status
  • Nil-encumbrance certificate
  • Survey maps
  • 7/12 extract confirming land ownership
  • NOC from the local council or panchayat
  • Payment receipt for land revenue

Many states allow online applications; for example, in West Bengal, try banglarbhumi.gov.in. Check landrecords.karnataka.gov.in or the Bhoomi portal in Karnataka. In Telangana, use the Dharani portal for online land conversion.

You can track your application and download the conversion certificate on these websites. If you're missing documents, don't worry; you can get them from the revenue department or town planning authorities. Once the collector gets your application, it takes 3 to 6 months to receive a government-issued conversion certificate, as they verify your claims through ownership documents.

Remember, there's a small fee for converting agricultural land to residential use, based on your land area and your state's collector rate. Let's break down how these charges work.

Agricultural Land to Residential Land Conversion Fees

When you convert farmland to residential space, you'll need to pay a one-time agricultural land to residential land conversion fees and the amount changes depending on where you are. In Rajasthan, it's INR 1 per square meter for land up to 2,000 square meters in villages with over 5,000 people. For bigger areas in the same village, it's INR 4 per square meter. If the population is over 5,000, it's INR 2 per square meter for land over 2,000 square meters.

In Maharashtra, you pay 50% of the total land price based on ready reckoner rates. Haryana charges INR 10 per square meter, and Bihar needs 10% of the property value. In Delhi, a pricier place, the conversion cost can be between INR 14,000 to 25,000 per square meter. And there might be an extra charge (FAR) from INR 3,000 to 8,000 per square meter in some industrial zones.

Simplify Your Land Conversion

If you're buying land, make sure it's ready for conversion from farming to residential use and has the right paperwork. Your dream home shouldn't come with unexpected legal or financial problems. When it comes to the legal stuff, even a small mistake can be a big deal. That's why it's smart to have a team of pros by your side to help you out.

How to Convert Agricultural Land to Residential FAQs

1. Can agricultural land be converted to residential in India?

Converting agricultural land to residential land in India involves a legal process, including obtaining approval from local authorities, submitting a land use conversion application, and complying with zoning regulations. The specific steps and requirements vary by state.

2. Can we construct houses on agricultural land?

According to land laws, fertile land in India is restricted to agricultural use only. Obtaining land conversion permission from authorities is mandatory for utilizing it for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes.

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