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Old 30th August 2008, 01:09   #211
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Why is it that when Govt. develop vast tracts of land in states like HP, UA, Jharkhand etc. that there is no such hue & cry despite their being more political parties & leaders unlike WB which has more or less only two influential parties? If you see what Uttarakhand for what it is today compared to what it was back when it was created, you'll understand that the industrialisation has done wonders for the people within the state too. Job openings have multiplied many fold which would not have been possible if such policies were not pursued.

Why is it that when land for large industrial projects is acquired even in educated/more advanced states like Tamilnadu there are no similar hue & crys? Examples being Ford & Hyundai plants.

Is there something wrong with WB politicans/residents thiking or is the majority of the rest of India thinking wrong?
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Old 30th August 2008, 01:18   #212
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Because, in this case Political workers were enforcing the plan. In other states, it would be police or some other machinery. And that would be bound to "some" law (at least in theory).

For example, Reliance tried to undervalue land in MH. Farmers used Google maps to prove that particular patch of land was not salt pan as claimed by Reliance. And they could save their land.
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Old 30th August 2008, 01:29   #213
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Originally Posted by prashanthyr View Post
@MontyKing: Not sure if you are aware: Greenpeace has not been able to substantiate any allegations. They have themselves been accused of altering reports to suit their needs.
Greenpeace is a worldwide respected organisation with an undisputable track record. They do not need to alter records to prove a point and moreover they nothing against TATAs. They just want to save the environment and they are doing a great job as a premier watchdog. Also just wanted to mention another greenpeace initiative against japanese whaling ships. Is that a concocted event too?

Whaling | Greenpeace International

These are way beyond the main discussion point and the argument will go on and on, afterall we are "The Argumentative Indians @Amrtya Sen".

Cheers

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Old 30th August 2008, 07:37   #214
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Excerpt from today's TOI -

LAND AS BATTLEGROUND

SINGUR STANDOFF IS A SYMPTOM OF MALIGNANCY AND OF PARALYZING POLICY DRIVE

Subodh Varma | TIG




Land acquisition for industry is fast emerging as one of the most burning issues of our times. While a boost to industrialization is a chosen path for India to break out of the curse of mass poverty, project after project is getting sucked into the quicksand of resistance — indeed, to a point that the Tatas are now prepared to forsake Rs 1,500 crore but get out of Singur unless the situation improves very soon.
The issue is not just of Singur. Across the country, from the forestclad Niyamgiri hills in Orissa to Raigad on the Western Ghats, from the lush fields of Punjab to the plains of Karnataka, huge industrial projects are floundering, trying to sort out an incendiary mix of local resentment, bureaucratic bungling and political brinkmanship.
At stake are investments worth Rs 2.43 lakh crore, or $54 billion — an amount that’s roughly equal to seven years’ FDI inflow into India or an amount that is more than the GDP of over 100 countries. It’s an amount that has the potential of changing India’s economic fortune. It’s the money that has been committed on giant projects involving mining, and production of steel, aluminium, power, and various other commodities.
Also at stake is the livelihood of five lakh farmers — perhaps, not such a significant number in a country of a billion-plus population, but large enough not to be brushed aside with disdain. These are people who have been living on this land for centuries and survive only because of it. Hence, a just and acceptable alternative/compensation for them is also necessary.
The total land in question is not frightfully large. All big projects taken together propose to take up 92,000 acres — half the size of Mumbai, or twice the size of Kolkata or Chennai. And, mind you, all this land is not required at one place, but is scattered across the country. The Singur plant, for instance, requires just 957 acres.
Why is land acquisition proving to be such a big problem? Especially when it is for something that could pull millions out of subsistence existence, and is of vital importance to the country. What could be a more intelligent approach mean by which everyone is taken on board?
The biggest hurdle, though not the only one, is the issue of compensation. In most cases, due to the prevalent law, a compensation package is offered to those who are directly displaced because they own that land. However, this does not solve the problem. Often, as is the case in Singur, nonlandowners — like sharecroppers and farm hands — also subsisted on the Tata land (and have now been compensated).
In Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, Reliance was offering between Rs 310 and Rs 460 per square feet to the farmers for its power plant. However, the opposition has been so strong that people have laid down their lives in clashes with police. The reason is a few kilometers away, private builders were buying up land at almost double the price. So, the Dadri farmers felt duped.
Of course, political forces also intervened — as they have in Singur — and twisted the whole thing beyond control, but the basic problem was there. So, adequate compensation is one issue.
As the experience in Singur has shown, even the best of packages may run into trouble. Part of the reason lies in not taking the people into confidence, and thus allowing forces like Trinamool Congress and sundry Naxal groups to move in and exploit people’s insecurities.
Another part of the reason lies in ignoring the complex lives of the people who are associated with the land. Loss of employment opportunities is the biggest curse that can befall an Indian, especially in the countryside. So compensation needs to be defined more broadly to cover all those that may be linked to land, and to include concrete job opportunities.
Orissa stands out as the state which has the biggest number of projects that have run into roadblocks. The tangled web of mining and processing rights that have been handed out by the state government has led to an explosive situation in the most mineral rich state of the country. The issues here are more complex.
In Kalahandi’s Niyamgiri hills, where Sterlite/Vedanta is trying to mine bauxite, the Dongria Kondh community holds the forested hills as sacred. They are a primitive tribal group, shy in nature, practising slash and burn cultivation of fruits on the slopes and drawing forest produce for survival. Nobody has cared for them so far, and neither have they cared for any outsider. Their fear is the proposed mines will finish off their source of livelihood, even the source of their water which springs from the Niyamgiri.
A somewhat similar situation prevails in Keonjhar where most iron mining projects, including MittalArcelor’s, are located. The people are not impressed merely by offers of jobs in the open cast mines. Hence their opposition, further aggravated by reports of the enormous profits projected by the companies.
In this incendiary situation, much more adjustment is needed. Mining is essential for any industrial society. But can’t the local tribals benefit from the natural wealth? Why give them only a minimum wage job, that too in hazardous conditions? These are questions that the investors need to think about. Otherwise there will be perpetual unrest.
It is clear that a one-size-fits-all approach, drawn up in distant boardrooms and based on the assumption that every poor Indian can be satisfied with a few lakh rupees, will not work. Each case has its own peculiarities, its own dynamics. This needs to be factored in for each project. It can be done even now, because, ultimately, the people matter.
FIGURING IT OUT
Total investments worth Rs 2.43 lakh crore, or $54 billion — an amount which is more than the GDP of over 100 countries
5 lakh farmers, who have been on this land for centuries, are affected
Combined land of big projects is 92,000 acres — half the size of Mumbai, twice the size of Kolkata
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Old 30th August 2008, 09:04   #215
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prashanthyr View Post
@agentsmith: The article in Businessweek that you are quoting - have you noticed how one sided it is?
Have you noticed how one sided this discussion is, towards Tatas ? Jail MB, get her out. She's dead. Her career over. Why ? Because she dares take on the mighty Tatas ?

She's crazy alright. But unlike the Mayawatis of our time, I doubt if her monetary assets are beyond thousands of rupees. Having stayed in Kolkata in my younger days, I've met her personally and I know how humble yet sane she is.

But again, that's not the reason I'm trying to seed some sense here. My IIT Kanpur alumni gang has bengali friends IIM Kolkata/Presidency/Xavier's - many of them write their own blogs as well.

Please do some non-scientific web search - and see the plethora of blogs & comments in favour of people from Singur. Since this forum has obvious bias is towards cars - and therefore - car makers like tatas - I suggest you do your own research. Talk to a few people who've been to this part of the world. You will see how a great part of India is struggling against this unusual problem. Singur, Raigad, Nandigram. Millions of people - who are Indian citizens by the way - can't be plain stupid.

The politicians, it seems, spend as much time as you just did to address this situation.
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Old 30th August 2008, 09:28   #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuttapan View Post
Excerpt from today's TOI -

It is clear that a one-size-fits-all approach, drawn up in distant boardrooms and based on the assumption that every poor Indian can be satisfied with a few lakh rupees, will not work. Each case has its own peculiarities, its own dynamics. This needs to be factored in for each project. It can be done even now, because, ultimately, the people matter.
Very well put. Totally agree.

Cheers

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Old 30th August 2008, 09:36   #217
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When I was in Chengdu,(China) we were talking about accommodation. They folks there were saying that thy stay in farmers apartments. The government and private developers acquire land and give the farmers a share - i.e apartments, cash settlement, job guarantee so that their income is sustained
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Old 30th August 2008, 10:05   #218
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Steeroid, like I said, I don't know--- I only ask.

Looks like NetfreakBombay answered the question, though, and the answer doesn't look good for Govt/Tata.
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Old 30th August 2008, 10:13   #219
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The problem in Singur is typical of what is happening in many parts of the country, i.e. govt bowing down and letting mobs take over. It was Rajasthan, when the state was held to ransom during the Gujjar reservation agitation and now it is Singur.

Blockage of the Durgapur expressway is a law and order problem. The govt should clamp down on people resorting to such tactics and put them behind bars. They can impose section 144 and ensure that the protests are peaceful. But that is too much to expect from a communist government. It now seems that Ratan Tata was naive to pick WB for his project. He should have gone to Uttarakhand, Maharashtra or some other place. WB, Jharkhand and Orissa are just not industry friendly and they do not seem to have done any thinking. Investorsm whether they be Arcelor Mittals, Tatas, Sterlite, or Posco cannot wait indefinately . End result: massive migration of people who leave these areas for other states in search of livelyhood and receive third rate treatment in places like Maharashtra.
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Old 30th August 2008, 10:39   #220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentsmith2 View Post
Have you noticed how one sided this discussion is, towards Tatas ? Jail MB, get her out. She's dead. Her career over. Why ? Because she dares take on the mighty Tatas ?

She's crazy alright. But unlike the Mayawatis of our time, I doubt if her monetary assets are beyond thousands of rupees. Having stayed in Kolkata in my younger days, I've met her personally and I know how humble yet sane she is.

But again, that's not the reason I'm trying to seed some sense here. My IIT Kanpur alumni gang has bengali friends IIM Kolkata/Presidency/Xavier's - many of them write their own blogs as well.

Please do some non-scientific web search - and see the plethora of blogs & comments in favour of people from Singur. Since this forum has obvious bias is towards cars - and therefore - car makers like tatas - I suggest you do your own research. Talk to a few people who've been to this part of the world. You will see how a great part of India is struggling against this unusual problem. Singur, Raigad, Nandigram. Millions of people - who are Indian citizens by the way - can't be plain stupid.

The politicians, it seems, spend as much time as you just did to address this situation.
The question is not of siding with TATAs or of Singur or MB in particular, this is happing in all parts of the country. It is not the people who are effected by land aquisition, who are raising hue and cry, it is the opposition parties who for theier own political gains are holding development of the nation to ransom.

There are two major reasons for these protests:

1. The is aquired by the govt for industry. This will lead to development and employment. The opposition sees this as a feather in the governments cap and a negative development for their chances in the elections and hence wants to block it at any cost.

2. They see this aquisition as a major source of kickback incomes and as they are not the part of the govt they will have no share in it. So they their thinking is that if we cant have it, why allow others to do so.

About 80% of the farmers are happy with the componsation they get. Another 10% want higher componsation and only 10% would be people who dont want to part with their land. This I am saying from personal experience because our land was aquired for the reliance SEZ at Jhajjar.
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Old 30th August 2008, 10:49   #221
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[quote=NetfreakBombay;958600]Numbers :

Price offered to farmers : $10,000 to $15,000 per acre
That translates to : INR 10 - 15 per square feet. I grew up in a village where farming if primary source of earning. Current price of cultivated land (that grows 3 crops in a year) : INR 40 - 60 per square feet (depending on irrigation / road reach etc).

Netfreak, if what you say is correct then it is really a matter of concern. But, then again I would say why would India's best known business house who spend crores on rural development, community services etc. would deprive some poor farmers in WB of what is payable to them. I find it hard to believe. I am sure WB govt. screwed up somewhere, after all those farmers did not deal directly with Tatas. Now if that is the case then you cannot blame Tatas for this, can you?
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Old 30th August 2008, 12:21   #222
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Originally Posted by MontyKING View Post
Greenpeace is a worldwide respected organisation with an undisputable track record. They do not need to alter records to prove a point and moreover they nothing against TATAs.
If you think Greenpeace is holier than thou, read a book called "The Sceptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg. He used to work for Greenpeace till he realised what was actually happening & then wrote this book. Your opinion might change a little upon reading this.

Last edited by iraghava : 30th August 2008 at 12:33.
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Old 30th August 2008, 12:26   #223
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The fact that you throw stones at a monument, does not make you a hero just because you are small and the monument is large. It makes you a coward, because it took years of effort to build that monument and you are unable to appreciate the fact that the monument will not retaliate.
Well said.

I still feel that Tata should go and setup a plant in China. Am sure that they would be warmly welcomed there.
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Old 30th August 2008, 12:30   #224
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Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Numbers :

Price offered to farmers : $10,000 to $15,000 per acre

That translates to : INR 10 - 15 per square feet

I grew up in a village where farming if primary source of earning.

Current price of cultivated land (that grows 3 crops in a year) :
INR 40 - 60 per square feet (depending on irrigation / road reach etc).
I did some research on the cost of land in West Bengal, as the cost per acre of roughly Rs.525,000 (assuming $ 12,500 average from the two price points mentioned by you) seems a fair sum for rural agricultural land (quite a few of my friends buy land in rural Tamil Nadu - a highly industrialized state with a much higher per capita income - for about half this sum per acre):

From A project and some protests
Interestingly, Sen has calculated that in an area under double-cropping in West Bengal, the net annual income from an acre of land is around Rs.10,000 to Rs.13,000. If an acre of this land is acquired and the farmer paid the market value as per the Land Acquisition Act, the amount of compensation due in a district like Howrah maybe as high as Rs.13 lakhs, which if kept under a fixed deposit could generate an interest income of more than Rs.1 lakh per annum. Even if one included the value of family labour, the interest surplus to the land-loser still remains significant. Moreover, those who lose land can also look forward to gainful employment in the industrial and ancilliary activities that will follow from the projects.
Assuming that the Net Annual income from an acre of land is Rs.10,000 to Rs.13,000 (lets take Rs.15,000 to be on the safer side), a price of $10,000 to $15,000 is about 42 times the annual income from that piece of land. Does this sound fair or unfair?

This CPI(M) explains its stance here (DISCLAIMER: This is a party that I believe is responsible for the industrial backwardness of two very literate and otherwise socially progressive state in this country, so I am NOT pushing their ideology - this is also a side one needs to consider):

West Bengal: Rationale For Industrialisation

One must also read this:

One needs to know a bit about Agriculture - to know Singur myths and hoax ! : One needs to know a bit about Agriculture - to know Singur myths and hoax !, Ratan Datta blogs on sulekha, Current Affairs blogs, Ratan Datta blog from india

The average income from agriculture in West Bengal is significantly lower than the Rs.10,000 to Rs.13,000 per acre that was optimistically quoted by the Minister in the first quote.

Last edited by Steeroid : 30th August 2008 at 12:44.
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Old 30th August 2008, 13:13   #225
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Have you noticed how one sided this discussion is, towards Tatas ? Jail MB, get her out. She's dead. Her career over. Why ? Because she dares take on the mighty Tatas ?

Since this forum has obvious bias is towards cars - and therefore - car makers like tatas
You've hit the nail in the head.

If this were a factory about say making clothes, this thread probably would not have existed here!

The communists have destroyed the state in their 30+ years of reign. They have almost dictator like power especially in rural areas. Only MB could challenge them. BB is now a ping pong ball who is being hit from both sides, his own party as well as opposition party.

Congress is now happier - after the confidence motion following nuclear deal, they want to see commies in trouble.

Just put yourself in the shoes of farmers. Land is every thing to them! It can't be compensated by some money (unless they are happy with it).

Lots of us here are IT professionals. How would you feel if a car company comes to you and say "give me your computer and I'll give you some money". But the money you'd get, you won't be able to buy another computer! So how do you feel? Remember, no computer, no team-bhp
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