Monday, June 14, 2010


Loss of fertile agricultural land consequent to the sky rocketing land prices near the towns and cities is a cause for worry in many countries. The real estate developers looking for land for developing their mega building projects provide lucrative incentives for the farmers to surrender their land and this trend has produced many millionaire ex-farmers with loads of money, not knowing what to do with it. Though there are constraints and restraints in transferring agricultural land from a genuine farmer to a non-agriculturists as per the law of the land, there are ways of getting around such impediments known fully well to every one involved in land purchase. While suburban lands appreciate in price at a slower pace, such a development puts pressure on core urban lands which command astronomical rates as part of a vicious cycle. Such a trend is sought to be broken by the Australian authorities in Sydney by considering a policy that will reserve lands around the city only for farming.

"Swathes of land in the Sydney Basin could be set aside for farming and market gardens under a proposal the state government is considering to stem the loss of agriculture in outlying suburbs. Under the idea, likely to rile developers vying for greenfield space on the city fringes, new planning powers would be developed to establish the farming-only zones. The Primary Industries Minister, Steve Whan, will reveal the proposal today at a conference on Sydney's food security and health hosted by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils".

This is a model worth studying for its impact on the prices of urban lands which get restricted due to bar on expanding around the core city area. A major advantage of such a policy decision will be the assured lung space that will accrue to the citizens who live inside the city perimeter and significant improvement of the quality of the environment. Barring industrial development near the urban centers will have far reaching impact on the overall quality of life of people who live there.Probably GOI can consider such an approach in dealing with the urban chaos that confront the nation to day due to uncontrolled growth of the towns and cities, without concomitant development of infrastructure to support such huge populations. Whether the land mafia that controls most of the urban areas in the country will allow such a radical policy changes is another matter.


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