ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Quid Pro Quo?

Relation between Real Estate Developers and ‘Local Men’ in Kolkata

Drawing on the fieldwork conducted in Kolkata, the city’s changing property relations among middle classes are studied sociologically. Since the late 2000s, several pockets of wetlands have been converted into urban land suitable for real estate constructions, sometimes even in violation of the Ramsar Convention. Journalists have reported at length on how land mafias and low-level cartels or syndicates operate here, and how the developers and brokers are also political allies. However, sociological engagement with this dimension of real estate in India has been sparse, particularly in Kolkata. Therefore, this paper questions the relation between real estate developers and “local men;” a field that can extend to other South Asian cities experiencing speculative housing and massive urban development in recent years.

The author is sincerely grateful to Surinder Singh Jodhka, whose advice has guided them at different stages of this work. The author is indebted to Writing Urban India Fellowship awarded by the Centre for Policy Research in 2021 and the comments received from Himanshu Burte. The author is also thankful to the reviewer(s) for comments and suggestions on the earlier draft. Usual disclaimer applies.

The syndicate is one of the main reasons for the decline of the real estate industry in Kolkata … (consultant at a financial company, interviewed on 8 August 2017)

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Updated On : 2nd Jan, 2024
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