as in iron ore, so in sand


the farther reaches of greater noida, like several other parts of india, are changing from agricultural areas to residential ones.


go there and you see fields being pushed back as the city grows. i have to work on a story about how village life changes as land rates rise, etc. there will be a myriad outcomes. for now, here is one fallout…


… sand mining. uncontrolled sand mining — by the rise of a mafia — has resulted in the local river, the hindon, bursting its banks.

Last Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh government suspended Durga Shakti Nagpal, the sub-divisional magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar who had been cracking down on the sand mafia. Three days later, Pale Ram Chauhan, a Noida-based activist who had taken on the local sand mining mafia, was killed. Sand mining is back under the scanner. As are questions on how to balance the construction sector’s need for sand with ecological and social concerns. For, right now, what is underway in construction boom-spots such as Greater Noida and elsewhere is analogous with nothing less than Karnataka’s iron ore scam.

the strange ways of kandla port

Last week, when Mundra overtook Kandla in the first quarter of 2013-14 to become the country’s largest port by tonnage handled, it was as much the result of the Adani Group taking decisions with purpose and strategic intent as the Kandla management demonstrating an inexplicable streak of indecision and inaction. In Gandhidham, the town that services Kandla, the perception among shipping firms and cargo agents is that, this public sector port has been scoring self-goals, ceding business – and tactical advantage – to privately-owned Mundra 60 km away, where the first ship docked just 15 years ago.

i stumbled upon this story while working on a profile of Gautam Adani, one of post-liberalisation India’s largest infrastructure tycoons.

ps – i can now legitimately claim to write on shipping and ports for the economic times.