Assessing the Socio-Economic Cost incurred by Land Losers due to Land Conversion from Rural to Urban: A Case Study of New Town Kolkata, West Bengal, India


Puspita Sengupta,



Land Conversion,New Town,Opportunity Cost,Cost Benefit Analysis,Gross Profit Ratio,


India has been a rapidly urbanizing country despite being known as a country of villages for centuries. Since Independence, India has witnessed the emergence of more than 2500 New Towns across the country, mostly developed through conversion of rural lands. New Town Kolkata in West Bengal being no exception, involved acquisition and conversion of 3075 hectare of rural land of which 68.36% was agricultural land. While such land acquisition led to economic displacement of the local people, it also led to a huge amount of investment in the form of project costs (INR203, 17, 19,887 in 2014-2015) for the development of New Town. This paper aims to determine the direct benefit accrued to the state from the said investment which is achieved in cost of displacement and livelihood changes of local people. For this purpose, the past (before land acquisition) and present economic conditions of these people have been compared. Taking into consideration of almost all sources of income of past as well as present, a cost benefit analysis in present value terms has been done for the period of 1999 (beginning year of land acquisition) to 2014. A quantitative evaluation of cost incurred by the land losers and a comparison with the compensation paid has been made. Also, a qualitative assessment of uncompensated intangible costs incurred by the land losers have been presented. Hence the ethics of the new town planning as practiced in our country is questioned.


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