Of politics in real estate sector and the politics over realty

New Delhi, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
The Munnar demolitions have cost Kerala CM Achuthanandan dearly. But, his suspension from the CPI (M) Politburo is just one of the instances when the ongoing real estate boom has created a political agenda of its own, bringing out the level of importance that the sector has attained today. Though land has always been a bone of contention since time immemorial, these days it has taken on political hues.

Analysts feel that most of the confrontations are happening due to the political stance of certain developers clearly indicating who are the favourites of whom. However, with a huge amount of foreign money coming into the sector of late, it is getting quite attractive for politicians and in the name of regulating the market, they start interfering. But, everyone knows what is it that they exactly want, says a property consultant, on condition of anonymity.

The Kerala episode is the latest in the list of political upheavals, showdowns and confrontations that have occurred because of property, when the CPI (M) politburo suspended Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan and CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan from the highest policy making body for their public spat in violation of party norms. The party took this action days after the two CPI (M) veterans aired their criticism of each other in public recently, especially, after the governments demolition drive in the hill resort town of Munnar.

This has come close on the heels of the newly-elected chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati expressing its reservation on Anil Ambanis multi-product special economic zone (SEZ) in Noida. Ambani, considered close to outgoing chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, had announced the project amid much fanfare. But, the state government has now found that the project breached the SEZ rules and has therefore recommended scrapping of the 1,200-acre project. As per rules, an SEZ can only be established on a continuous piece of land, having one entry and one exit point. But, the Reliance SEZ was found to have been proposed on two pieces of land with a road dividing both the plots, a state official said. In fact, the UP government on Monday ordered a CBI enquiry into the land allotments made in Noida during the previous Samajwadi Party regime.

Not too distant in the past were the public uprisings at Nandigram and Singur, which made the UPA government spell out a specific policy for developing an SEZ, most likely under duress from the Left.

Again, it was the demolitions that caused the defeat of the Congress party in the recently held MCD elections in Delhi.