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Land Acquisition and Compensation in Singur: What Really Happened?

Maitreesh Ghatak (), Sandip Mitra, Dilip Mookherjee () and Anusha Nath
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Sandip Mitra: Indian Statistical Institute
Anusha Nath: Boston University

CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)

Abstract: This paper reports results of a household survey in Singur, West Bengal concerning compensation offered by the state government to owners of land acquired to make way for a car factory. While on average compensations o.ered were close to the reported market valuations of land, owners of high grade multi-cropped (Sona) lands were undercompensated, which balanced over-compensation of low grade mono-cropped (Sali) lands. This occurred owing to misclassification of most Sona land as Sali land in the official land records. Under-compensation relative to market values significantly raised the chance of compensation offers being rejected by owners. There is considerable evidence of the role of financial considerations in rejection decisions. Land acquisition significantly reduced incomes of owner cultivator and tenant households, despite their efforts to increase incomes from other sources. Agricultural workers were more adversely affected relative to non-agricultural workers, while the average impact on workers as a whole was insignificant. Adverse wealth effects associated with under-compensation significantly lowered household accumulation of consumer durables, while effects on other assets were not perceptible. Most households expressed preferences for non-cash forms of compensation, with diverse preferences across different forms of non-cash compensation depending on occupation and time preferences.

Date: 2013
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