While Trinamool endorses state-centered development models (or does it? nobody knows when the policy gets changed by the whims of one person!), it is resolutely market-oriented when it comes to land acquisition. Why?
The stated reason is to remove irregularities that come from government intervention in the land acquisition process. So what about the irregularities that come from direct market intervention? The Trinamool economist, Abhirup Sarkar from ISI, said on a TV show yesterday that both are comparable. Pity how a whiff of power corrupts basic economic logic!
I do not need to have a doctorate degree to understand the simple fact that the government, no matter how tyrrannical it might be, will be held accountable and it cannot, one fine morning, "go out of business". Trinamool's big promise of remedying the Left's ills rests on the fact that Left might go but the government of West Bengal stays and will be held accountable by people, courts, and the next incumbent. Can we say the same about private realtors and agents? If a strongman employed by a business house gets land deeds transferred to a party who sells it to somebody who resells it (all can be done in a matter of months), will the current owner be accountable for the irregularities? The key culprit, the strongman, would be untraceable and people will be left with nobody to fight with.
Think about how RBI is monitoring the flow of money in the speculative bond and equity markets. The government reserves its rights to intervene if there are anomalies or signs of overheating in the market. Going by Trinamool's logic, government will have to stand mute even if land sharks push up the land price by speculative trading.
Market definitely has a role, a rather prominent role. But government cannot be out of the loop completely. Let's not take extremist positions and deny either's role. Let government and market work together (the much vaunted yet unrealized PPP model of the Rail Minister) to ensure efficiency and sustainability in land acquisition.