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Small Cars - Big Dilemmas

The farmers of Singur in West Bengal are desperate to save their land from transforming into an assembly line for cars of Tata Motors priced at one lakh rupees (US$2222). While the state’s left front government is eager to oblige with cheap land deal, the Union government is ready with more tax cuts to shorten the fuse and set off explosion in car sales. In promising unconditional support our regulators forgot to ask about the product itself, -- an unusually cheap micro car – whose impact will reverberate much beyond Singur.

Land is more than just that

My article last fortnight about people’s fight against POSCO has brought me interesting responses. They call for clarifications and further discussion. The question is about the value of current livelihoods of the people of coastal Odisha. Is earning from betel nut farming being exaggerated to reinforce the romantic and misinformed view that people are fighting projects because they are better off today? The equally valid question, then, is: why are the people so apparently poor if they are earning Rs 10-17 lakh per hectare (ha) each year as I had said?