Singur is the name of a place near Calcutta in West Bengal, where the Tata Motors plan to set up the manufacturing plant of their much-hyped One Lakh Car. The state government wants to acquire the land from small peasants to give it away to the Tatas. If you have heard/read/seen Mamta Banerjee fasting lately, then it is for the cause of these peasants. The Tata controversy at Singur has raised many questions. Why is Tata being given more than 1000 acres of cultivable land for a car manufacturing plant when the actual manufacturing facility could do with a fraction of that size? Why is the land in question so near the Calcutta metropolis when the govt could have identified another site a bit farther to push for economic growth of that area? Arindam Chaudhary of IIPM has such questions in his article (the link will be posted when I can find it online).
Another article in the Times of India by a Member of Parliament, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, puts forward some common sense points for the long term land use policy as required by India. In the brief article, he justifies the need for a consistent land use policy at the national level and points how it can be formulated with the help of a little common sense and data from our very own GIS satellites. Come on guys, the cost of those satellites should be justified by putting their data to optimum use. Instead of doling out Rs 15,000 crore to our space agencies for a “manned space flight” or Rs 20,000 crore for putting a man on moon, this sum could be put to use for providing basic amenities to the 40% of our below-poverty-line population. To get the amount into perspective, the Golden Quadrilateral Road Project connecting four corners of India cost Rs 30,000 crore! I’m not against scientific progress, but what is the point of spending such huge amounts for outdated goals, except to show the world “we can do it too” which anyway, they have been doing for the last 30 years!