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Category: Land acquisition

Millionaire water thieves

At Karanjade, a cluster of new apartment buildings bordering Panvel, well-off residents steal drinking water from a large mains nearby. A popular method involves puncturing the main pipe with a heavy stone and running away. The pressured water shoots out in a fountain several metres high for days, providing a virtually unlimited supply for the apartment-dwellers as well as the labourers who construct the buildings. “Bisleri hai,” a man from Karanjade village described the taste. The residents are expected to become more law-abiding when the construction of a nearby tank for the buildings is complete. For the others, this is the only dependable source of water.

“If you have to resettle people, it’s because you did not plan ahead”

On a tip from a Mumbai planner – “Get in touch with Pedro Ortiz. He doesn’t think NAINA makes sense, and he wrote a mail saying so” – I reached out to Ortiz last week. He was in Madrid, and agreed to discuss the city planned for a 600-kilometre area east of Navi Mumbai. Ortiz, a planner, was the director of the Madrid Metropolitan Regional Plan, and also served as the city’s deputy mayor. Earlier this year, Ortiz had been invited by Mumbai First to scrutinise the controversial Mumbai development plan, and offer his thoughts on NAINA. He was concerned, he said. NAINA had the right idea, but its implementation would slow down the process of building a city that could potentially support Mumbai’s growth.


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“The minister did not respond”

The Hindu reports on a sham “consultation” by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The part that should come as no surprise?:

Koraga tribe member Susheela Koraganad of Udipi is quoted in the citizen’s report as saying that the government refused to provide copies of both the Committee reports in Kannada, which might have helped them understand its recommendations better. Tania Devaiah, Jhatkaa’s online campaigner, said that both Mr. Javadekar and Environment Secretary Ashok Lavasa have not responded to the citizen’s report and the concerns raised by it. The lack of transparency in the consultation process is further exposed by the fact that the MoEF did not respond to a Right to Information query filed by Ms. Devaiah on June 17, seeking details of the ongoing consultation proceedings, despite public authorities being required to respond to RTI queries within one month from the date of receipt of the query.

Par for the course, for probably the most disastrous Minister we’ve ever had in charge of the environment.

Zombie as metaphor

Stop everything.

This is Real Estate Fiction from a Spanish collective called Left Hand Rotation. These films mix movie scenes about real estate, housing, and forced evictions. And in one unforgettable segment, construction workers turn into zombies. There’s a metaphor in this.

The catch

Eight months have passed since the National Democratic Alliance issued an ordinance that attempted to make land acquisition an easier, if notably one-sided, process. The prime minister made his case to the people during his radio address. Then administration reissued the ordinance. There was opposition to the ordinance from outside, and within its ranks too.

A recent solution that first seemed viable – to let the states have their own land acquisition laws – could prove difficult to implement, Nitin Sethi and Ishan Bakshi of Business Standard report. Section 107 of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act says that the states can “enhance or add to the entitlements” that landowners are due.

The language of this section connects it to other parts of the act, creating a protective barrier around the act’s intent.

Read it now.