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Land was assembled by the govt for the sites. Your instinct is right, though.  Assembly of land often took a long time and this was one of the key reasons why project implementation periods were long.  It is worth noting that even today many state/local govts in India continue to assemble land and allocate it for different uses, such as infrastructure development and housing for low-income families.  Several questions remain, however, regarding the most effective ways of delivering land or housing -- at scale -- in a manner that can also reach lower-income families. This blog and the (forthcoming) paper on which it is based are one contribution to that discussion. Many thanks for your excellent comments!