In land of cars, splurging is trend and caste is key
“This is development for sure,” says Khan. “Five years ago we had to struggle to feed ourselves. We had land but there was no certainty of crops. Today, we sell land here and buy some outside Sanand, and deposit our money in banks.”
“This is not development,” disagrees Ravubha Vaghela, president of the Sanand Industries Association. “All that has happened is a huge rise in real estate prices. Locals haven’t benefited the way they should have. They have got cash for their land and are spending it on cars and lifestyle.”
Vaghela, of Vasna village, owns Raviraj Foils Ltd, right opposite the Nano plant. He gave 30 acres himself.
“It is a bubble that will soon burst,” echoes Amulya Parmar, who runs a petrol pump on the recently opened state highway 17. “Once the money is spent, you will become a landless labourer.”
He too has gained from Sanand’s transformation, with sales from his station having increased five-fold since 2007 when the Nano plant was announced. His station supplied petrol for the initial Nanos that rolled out.
The Sanand wing of the GIDC is on the verge of becoming state’s largest in terms of land acquired, with rough estimates predicting over 5,000 hectares by the end of the year.
But the government has ignored infrastructure such as roads, schools, colleges, nor has it helped set up ancillary units that could have created job opportunities. Sanand has a couple of ITIs but no college. In 2008, the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority included 22
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