Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mumbai politics

PM Manmohan Singh seems to be uncharacteristically criticizing suddenly. Is this a weak attempt to deflect attention away from other issues? The Economist reports that he had harsh words for Mumbai on 21 June 2006. Of course his criticisms are completely valid. However, what good is simply scolding Mumbai government for their Land Ceiling and Rent control acts? Positive measures need to be taken to remove these uneconomical laws. I do not know how such archaic laws can be changed in a city like Mumbai where the local population is very much involved in everything. A few months back, Mumbaikars mobbed the local Producer's office demanding that their favourite singer be brought back into the Indian Idol competition (modeled along American Idol) , after he was voted out by a nation wide viewer vote.

Another instance is the Airports Authority's (AAI) long legal struggle to evict slum dwellers encroaching on AAI property, which is preventing the expansion of the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminal. The drive to evict slum dwellers is seen as some kind of conspiracy against 'humanity' by real estate guys, the 'elite' and government rather than an effort to enforce property rights. The government is to blame for this situation, after all they built the roads, water and electricity connections in these slums for their votes.

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