Category Archives: Bhoomi

Lured to sell farmlands and driven to buy


Lured to sell, driven to buy
Land rate has soared to staggering Rs.1-5 crores per acre on the outskirts of Nagpur, driven by the hype created by the proposed Multi-Modal International Hub and Airport at Nagpur project and the adjoining Special Economic Zone. Jaideep Hardikar has more.

26 November 2008 – Nagpur, November: It was a temptation that 65-year-old Daulat Moon could not avoid any more. The deal was too big for him to reject: Rs 40 lakh per acre of land. “I stamped it.”

The six-acre farmer, Moon, fixed some of his huge sum and bought five acre in a village, 50 km away, at Rs 10 lakh an acre. “Once a farmer, always a farmer.” He’s the latest in the burgeoning list of farmers who’ve sold their farm land in Mondha village, barely 4 km from Hingna town and 20 km from Nagpur. The real estate sharks gobbling up the lands have been after him for six months.

Mondha has sold its 75 per cent land to developers and city’s noveau rich in two years. Stretches of what were once cotton and soybean fields or orange orchards now bear hoardings of buy-in-installment plots. The price per plot is a staggering Rs.500 per square feet. That’s in multiple of what Moon got from the developer.

Good times for middlemen working farmers to sell to developers. A hoarding put up by a real estate firm at one of its ‘gold mines’ near Nagpur. Pic: Jaideep Hardikar.

Land rate has soared to staggering Rs.1-5 crore per acre on the outskirts of the city. Driven by the hype created by the proposed Multi-Modal International Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project and the adjoining Special Economic Zone (SEZ), villages around here have seen a sort of land-riot for some time.

But the scale at which it’s happening is incomprehensible, say the locals. Over a hundred villages, like Mondha, within 50 km radius of Nagpur, have sold their agriculture land. About a million small and big investors have invested in plots or farmland beyond the city limits with the hope that prices will appreciate.

What’s more, the realtors estimate at least 200,000 individuals to be engaged in the land brokering in and around Nagpur.

The district collector’s office estimates that 30,000-hectare land (330 crore sq ft) has changed hands from farmers to individuals – many in benami (in fake name) transactions; 10,000-hectare (110 crore sq ft) has been sold in plots to small investors from and outside Nagpur. At a modest Rs.300 per square feet, the game is at least worth Rs 33,000 crore! No wonder, the rural police say, land-related crimes are on rise.

“This explains the sudden affluence that has come to a few land developers and real estate firms and their agents,” says Praful Gudadhe, a Nagpur Municipal Corporation member and builder himself. This, he feels, is not sustainable unless manufacturing and industrial units come up in big way and creates an unimaginable demand. That prospect seems more suspect in a ‘Meltdown’ era!

But today, prices are too alluring for the farmers to reject, insists Moon’s young neighbour Raju Lomsonge, a part-time land-broker who works with the Hingna spinning mill. A couple of years ago, Raju sold his own land and took up the job as a broker when he realised that the sector had a potential to make quick bucks.

Raju says the number of registries everyday has risen manifold. And he’s right. If you visit the deputy-registrar (land records) office at Hingna, where the land deals are notified, the rush is mind-boggling. The middlemen are omnipresent.

What he couldn’t earn all his life from his job at the only-surviving spinning mill here Raju makes it in a few minutes from one land deal. There’s a great demand for many like him these days across rural Nagpur – both from buyers and sellers.

Raju doesn’t go beyond the simple arithmetic of commission. “I don’t know if the prices would remain stable, rise or fall in the future; what I know is that it’s wiser to sell agriculture land and make money today than to till it in losses forever.”

“Today it is Rs.50 lakh per acre; I can’t quote you tomorrow’s figure,” says Raju. The 35-year-old reveals that the young and unemployed of his village are all into land brokerages. “A middleman fetches two per cent in commission.”

Evidently, the sudden inflow of money has transformed the lifestyle of villagers, particularly those who drive the deals as middlemen.

“Yes, there are a few more cement houses in the village now, consumption of liquor has risen, and so has the number of two-wheelers,” says the sarpanch of Mondha, Arvind Modak. He says, “People buying land here are obviously doing it for commercial reasons. The farmers who get good price here for their land are buying farmlands in distant villages of Wardha and Yavatmal.”

A farmer from here sells his land to developers and migrates to Wardha but not before spiking land rates there. The wave thus travels further, and farther. But hundreds of farmers sold their lands cheaply five years ago or earlier. Today most of them are landless labourers. Going by today’s deal rates, they have suffered huge losses.

Modak says rich traders from other cities have also bought land big time. “Many businessmen and traders have come from as far away as Mumbai and Delhi.”

The bubble created by the MIHAN and SEZ has had a cascading effect on land holding pattern in Nagpur, nay Vidarbha. And while the ambitious project looks a distant dream, the realtors have already made a life out of it by selling dreams to the unsuspecting investors expecting good returns by investing in land plots. ⊕

Jaideep Hardikar
26 November 2008


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Socio-economic data to guide digitised mapping of urban India

Socio-economic data to guide digitised mapping of urban India

By Smita Aggarwal Indian Express
Moving away from a state-controlled development of a city,
municipalities will now map their cities on the basis of
socio-economic parameters like health, education, religion, disaster
management and even terrorist activity.

This information will be processed and digitised to generate a Geographical Information System
(GIS) map to depict multiple variables on a single image, at the click
of a button.

In a novel approach, the local administration will generate data
related to terror history of a place, mapping potential terror risk
sites and devising appropriate response management system. The
systematic plan ascertains whether administration has a role to play
in such situations, detailing equipment and manpower required for
effective handling. Not only that, Urban Local Bodies (ULB) will
perform periodic drills to check preparedness levels.

Similarly, city areas prone to natural disasters like earthquake,
flooding, fire and landslides will be mapped – complete with a
response system and officials responsible. All this is part of a new
initiative undertaken by the urban development ministry.

Under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s flagship Rs
50,000-crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM),
the ministry will encourage cities to come up with a comprehensive
city development plan (CDP) as against the traditional land-use plan.
A development plan is an essential document to be prepared by cities
to avail of central funds under JNNURM.

The plan seeks to map city’s socio-economic infrastructure like
availability of basic healthcare and education – whether municipal
schools and basic health clinics are located in the vicinity of
informal or formal urban poor settlements.

As this data is generated, layer by layer, it will be mapped on to the
physical and political map of the city. For instance, at the click of
a button, it will bring up city areas inhabited by the poor, areas not
covered by the municipalities’ health and education initiatives, and
with little or no access to clean drinking water facility.

The CDP aims to integrate socio-economic development with
infrastructure development by demarcating spaces for industry and
services in the city, providing required infrastructure and
streamlining licensing process through single window clearances. In
urban centres, coupled with availability of skilled workforce, such
initiatives will attract investment from retail industry and services

A CDP enables these cities to look at local economic development in a
strategic manner. Towards this end, the ministry has asked private
consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers to come up with a CDP toolkit
modelled on socio-economic development parameters. Thereafter, a
committee consisting of town planners, local and central government
representatives will ratify the detailed plan, before it is
disseminated to the cities.

PwC principal consultant Kaustabh Basu told The Indian Express that
the initiative is aimed at enabling the third tier of governance –
municipalities – to make the transition from a Master Plan-based land
use to a development-based city planning. “The CDP will focus on
identified and prioritised local needs, taking into consideration
local resources, searching for cost-effective solutions, and
addressing causes, rather than just allocating capital expenditure for
dealing with symptoms,” he said.

Once such a mapping is complete, it will help to speed up economic
development delivery by providing a tool that guides investment to
arrive at realistic project proposals taking into consideration the
availability of limited resources.

New parameters

Cities will be mapped on parameters such as health, education,
religion, disaster management and even terrorist activity. This
information will be processed and digitised to generate a Geographical
Information System (GIS) map

What is CDP?

A comprehensive city development (CDP) enables cities to look at local
economic development in a strategic manner. A development plan needs
to be prepared by cities to avail of central funds under JNNURM

What it does

The CDP aims to integrate socio-economic and infrastructure
development by demarcating spaces for industry and services in the
city. Such initiatives would attract investment from retail and
services sector

Investment Guide

Such a map would help speed up delivery of investment by providing a
tool that guides investors at arriving upon realistic project
proposals while taking into consideration the availability of limited

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Land banks may be the lifeline–Gates Foundation, World Bank & ADB To Collaborate On Project

Land banks may be the lifeline
Gates Foundation, World Bank & ADB To Collaborate On Project
Rajat Guha, Gunjan Pradhan Sinha NEW DELHI

THE government is planning to create a database of 22 lakh sq km of land spread across various states which can be used for industrial development in a bid to avoid a Singur-like situation. The land bank has already been identified and the survey work on the project has been initiated.

Work on this project is expected to be done in collaboration with the Bill Gates Foundation, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The process of registering land titles would also be speeded up so that transfer of titles can be done fast, as the government plans to do away with the system of stamp paper.

The government will also provide conclusive land titles to more than 1,000 million rural people. And, these titles will be guaranteed by the state government to avoid any ownership dispute in future. At present, there is no clarity on land titles in rural areas which leads to disputes and litigations over ownership.

“We are working on a very important project for integrating around 4,000 land registrar offices across the country. This will eliminate problems arising due of lack of coordination among area tehsildars while allotting land. Fertile land will not be given for development if there is a semi arid or a single crop land or infertile land available in the vicinity.


22lakh sq km





PEOPLE TO GET LAND TITLES Govt to make changes in Land Registration Act

“WHEN a land is purchased, a built-in compensation will be charged from the purchaser, which will eliminate the need of stamp paper and save time,” Department of Land Resources secretary (ministry of rural development) Rita Sinha told ET.

To effect such changes the government will make significant amendments in the Land Registration Act and the Transfer of Property Act.

The Registration Act of 1908 makes registration of land deeds compulsory but not mutation of titles. Therefore, lack of state guarantee of title leads to unclear tiles inviting land disputes. A large chunk of developable land is locked up in litigation across the country.

Government officials claim that a large part of the controversy around Tata’s Nano project could be averted if alternative barren stretches of land around Singur could be given for industrial development. According to the plan, the Centre, states and private players would take up land survey, which itself is a very time consuming and long-drawn process.

Eventually, maps will be developed for each state, stating soil codes, which will be updated regularly.

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