Thursday, October 09, 2008

Alternatives to Singur

This week, Tatas drew curtains to their Singur Nano project...

...This being a highly govt-subsidised project (ref: Nano-economics), this withdrwal perhaps also perhaps saved the exchequer (and therefore the taxpayers) around Rs.3000cr

The "public" discourse on this project (which ,unfortunately, has now got reduced to the MSM's rant, and the corporate press-releases) has typically been tinted with a with-us-or-against-us kind of argument, i.e., the terms of debate are: if you don't support this project, then you are against "industrialisation"/development.

As an old adage of public deception says:
"if you get them to ask wrong questions, you will never have to give the right answers."

So since no one has asked this:
"are/were there alternatives to the Singur model of land-acquisition/industrialisation?"

Actually there are a few which I could find:

  • Salboni Model:
    To quote:
    "For the steel plant at Salboni in Bengal, JSW has offered free shares worth the value of the land over and above full upfront cash compensation.

    ....Over 700 land owners has received cash as well as free shares of the new company, promoted by JSW Steel, which will build a 10-million-tonne plant over the next 10 years involving an investment of Rs 35,000 crore.

    It has often been said that JSW could offer shares because there was only a small parcel of private land at Salboni. But Jindal said a larger number would not deter him in future."

    [Read more...]

  • Barmer Farmers to Rent Land
    To quote:
    "Rajasthan's Barmer has paved the way for a new formula for land acquisition with the Jindals agreeing to rent the land from farmers for lignite mining rather than getting the government to acquire it.

    The power plant at Bhadres will mine 17000 hectares of land for lignite which will fuel the plant according to the new deal once the mining is over.

    The Jindals will hand the land back to the farmers... According to a survey the lignite will last for only 43 years and according to the deal once the lignite runs out the mining will stop and the land will be given back to its owners, the farmers."

    [Read more...]

  • Prem Shankar Jha's HT article this week
    To quote:
    "Are the blood and tears of the poor a necessary price of ‘development’? Was there no way of making the landholders and sharecroppers in Singur beneficiaries of ‘development’ instead of its victims? There was, but the Tatas never even considered it and took refuge in the legal plea that they were not involved in the acquisition of the land.

    To see how easy it would have been to co-opt the landowners and sharecroppers, one needs to ask just one counterfactual question: what would have happened if the Tatas had decided to set aside just one quarter of 1 per cent of their annual sales revenue and distributed it as an annual royalty to the owners and sharecroppers, for the use of their land? With an annual turnover of Rs 5,000 crore (from 500,000 cars), the royalty would have amounted to Rs 125,000 per acre per year to be split between landowners and sharecroppers. To recover this added outlay, the Tatas would have had to increase the price of their car by only Rs 250."

    [Read more...]

    I am still searching for solutions between the "number-driven economic growth" vis-a-vis "models of sustainable development"...

    If you have any clues, please help out...

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