From Detroit to Singur: On the Question of Land Acquisition for Private Development
Private land is often taken by the government on behalf of another private investor in the interest of employment creation or general economic development of a region. This paper draws upon the parallel between the experiences of General Motors in Poletown, MI in the 1980s and the recent events relating to Tata Motors and the agricultural land in Singur, West Bengal to raise a number of questions about government taking of land for private development .A brief review of the history of land acquisition through Eminent Domain in the US serves as the background for a discussion of the different important questions like the problem of strategic holdouts and fair compensation. The essay ends with an emphasis on the moral obligation of the government, especially in India, for proper rehabilitation of the displaced when exercise of Eminent Domain powers becomes unavoidable.
|Date of creation:||May 2010|
|Note:||Except for the introductory section written for readers unfamiliar with the incidents at Singur, West Bengal, this essay is an English rendering of my original piece published in the Nov 17, 2009 issue of the Bengali magazine, Desh.|
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