For/Of/By the People - Land issues in India

  1. Who is the real owner of a land - the State or the person dwelling in it for the last so many years?
  2. Who should decide on the use of the land?
  3. How do you determine the values of a piece of land and the associated sentiments?

These questions are haunting Indian politics for the last few months more than ever. It is becoming a big social issue where land is being bought/grabbed from the poor peasants and new highrises are coming out of it. The stark difference between the life style of the poor peasants - who used to be the owners of the land, and the new dwellers of the highrises are causing quite a lot of social friction. The sudden change of the locality and the people thereof leaves the peasant thinking whether he was cheated. This is causing violent protests in many a places across the country.

What can be the way out? Answering the first few questions might not be very easy - however there lies the clue. So far the State has assumed that it owns its land and can occupy it when State requires it. However we need to understand that State finally ends up being the mask of a certain set of people/politicians/bureaucrats who has their own sets of objectives and intentions.

Involving the real owners of the land in the decision-making process about his land might be a good idea. Also providing some basic community services (school/hospital etc) needs to be made mandatory for any real estate projects which might improve the life condition of the poorest of poors.
Violence cant be dealt with violence as it only increases the animosity. Lets get back the State which used to be for/of/by the people.

Kolkata Bloggers