"Battles over land" - Land as commodity and land for livelihoods - Special issue from Infochange

What are the laws governing acquisition? What is the social impact of a development-at-all-costs policy? Can those who owned and lived off the land have a stake in its development?

Agenda magazine April 2008 special issue on "Battles over land"

This April 2008 issue of Agenda looks at some of these issues:

Land as livelihood vs land as commodity
By Walter Fernandes
All over India, land is being acquired for commercial/industrial use, for reality and infrastructure development. But all over India, this acquisition of land is being bitterly opposed.

Tossed aside in the fast lane to growth
By Manshi Asher
Case studies from Gujarat, the SEZ capital of India, where vast tracts of land have transitioned from agricultural to non-agricultural use.

Chengara: Dalit homeland?
By P N Venugopal
In yet another confrontation with industry, hundreds of landless families - principally dalits and adivasis - have occupied the Harrison Malayalam rubber plantation in Kerala.

Nandigram revisited: The scars of battle
By Tushar Dhara
Nandigram, where villagers have been strongly resisting the acquisition of their lands, represents the cleft between the hopes of an urban middle class high on the promise of growth and development and the anxieties of the rural masses who say all they know is farming and what they want most is land.

Yesterday’s ‘encroachers’ are today’s rights-holders
By Manshi Asher
The giant POSCO steel plant and port in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa will displace 471 families in 11 hamlets. For the last three years, local communities have been fighting to retain the land they have been cultivating for generations but which, after Independence, has been deemed government forest land.

The shrink-wrapping of Goa
By Rahul Goswami
Real estate developers have allied with politicians in Goa to create a brand new economy in this well-known holiday state.

The pressure on slumlands
By Kalpana Sharma
The Rs 9,300 crore Dharavi Redevelopment Plan envisages a complete transformation of the slum. But it is the soaring value of the prime real estate on which Dharavi is located that is driving the change.

Beware of the bulls
By Aseem Shrivastava
India is poised to see a massive real estate boom over the next decade. The market, already worth $20 billion, growing at 25%-35% per annum, is expected to rise to $90 billion by 2015.

When we had land
By Aparna Pallavi
How do those who have spent their lives on the land see it? What would it mean to go on living on this land that is giving them fewer and fewer returns? What would it mean to lose it?

The idiocy of urban thinking
By Sagarika Ghose
Sixty per cent of India’s people are trapped in land and want to escape it, according to this counter-view. It is the urban elite who want to see the Indian farmer as frozen in time, seated wisely and calmly next to fields of waving paddy, wearing colourful clothes, speaking in simple profound phrases.

Treasure islands in a sea of poverty
By Aseem Shrivastava
From Nandigram in West Bengal and Jagatsinghpur in Orissa to Raigad in Maharashtra and Nandagudi in Karnataka, SEZs are being resisted with fury.

The nuts and bolts of appropriating agricultural land
By Bhaskar Goswami
How much land is actually transitioning from farm to non-farm use? The government itself puts the figure at 1.5% of net sown area between 1990 and 2003, or more than 21 lakh hectares.

The relevance of land reform in post-liberalisation India
By D Bandyopadhyay
Land reform is a forgotten agenda in State policy today. But given the jobless growth of the Indian economy and the spurt in rural violence, with people protesting their lack of access to land, water and jungle, it is land that must provide livelihoods not only to labour already attached to agriculture and allied pursuits, but also to a segment of surplus urban unemployed returning to rural areas for shelter and livelihood.

Whose land is ‘wasteland’?
By Kannan Kasturi
By the second half of the 19th century, the British government had codified a series of laws to enable it to extract as much as it could from the acquisition, sale and transfer of lands and forests.

The ifs and buts of R&R
By Himanshu Upadhyaya
What does all the verbiage in the draft Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill 2007 amount to if there are conventionalities even in recognising a project-affected person as project-affected, and when the displaced cannot be guaranteed alternative land for rehabilitation?  

The Magarpatta model for land acquisition
By Rakesh Ganguli
In an equitable and inclusive model that replaces coercive land acquisition and exclusive development projects, 123 farm families in Pune pooled 400 acres of farmland and set up a private limited company that developed a commercial-cum-residential project.

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