Vantage point

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Everybody and his grandmother says that the Urban Land Ceiling Regulation Act(ULCRA) is an archaic excuse for a law, and as anachronistic and idiotic as whipping. Everybody and his grandmother says that a large part of blame for the burgeoning slums in our cities, specifically Bombay, lies with the ULCRA. Everybody and his grandmother says that ULCRA should be scrapped.

Yet, why o why, is it still there in Maharashtra lawbooks?

The latest "opponent" of the Act is our suave Civil Aviation Minister, Prafull Patel, who said so in NDTV's Walk the Talk. However while Patel lambasted the Act in the TV interview, that part has been mysteriously edited out by the Indian Expess.

This is what he said in the interview (I quote from memory) - ULCRA is an old and bad law, and it should be scrapped. If it was in my hands, I would have scrapped it long back.

Now, Mr. Patel, your party is part of the government both at state as well as in the centre. How about championing to scrap the law? It will make your life easier, by helping clear the slums in Andheri ans Santacruz that surround the airport. Why then don't you, or any of our other "learned" new-age politicians take one such issue passionately. All these "stylish" politicians, like Pramod Mahajan, Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Dushyant Singh, spend most of their time networking with the NDTV crew, so that they can appear on TV, and seem "progressive".

If they want to make a real difference to the country, they should each pick one archaic and counter-productive legislation, and dedicate their time to its abolition.

That is the real way to "walk the talk".

P.S- Amit Varma highlights the positives of the Praful Patel interview over here.