Farmers in Noida, an area adjoining New Delhi, are on the warpath. Not only are they demanding return of land—acquired by Noida authorities—but they want a much better deal if they decide to sell it again to land developers.
It’s easy to look at this situation from the prism of justice: the land developers are, after all, getting their just desserts.
That, however, is a peripheral issue at the policy level. The big lesson here is that governments should not get into any land acquisition that involves private interests—and real estate development is certainly that. The current climate in New Delhi is in favour of the government acquisition of land. This will only lead to corrupt practices and fuel resentment of the kind now being seen in Noida.
It has to be understood that there are limitations to what governments can do effectively. State intervention is not a solution in all situations.