Hyderabad land scandal, cont.

Within minutes of posting the Hyderabad land scandal story (and going to bed), several far more adept Google Earth users emailed the location of the site in question:


It’s still nor clear to me what the parameters of the scandal are, in part because The Hindu‘s reporting is impenetrable, but at least this article by the Deccan Herald from September 30 introduces us to the scandal in plain English:

The entire Opposition, led by the Telugu Desam Party formed a united front as serious allegations emerged of a nexus of government officials and ruling party big-wigs that twisted rules, issued notifications and later withdrew them or allowed them to lapse that enabled them to “grab” vast extent of prime land at low rates from farmers who feared acquisition of their land at throwaway prices by the government [to build the ring road].

… Former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu pointed a finger at Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and alleged that the government had changed the alignment and notification for the ORR [ring road] project several times to help his relatives, friends and close associates.

One reader who emailed the location helpfully labeled the area “Nagarjuna Farm House”. Googling that (hey, this is a blog, not the NYT) led me to this “gossip” article on greatandhra.com, where an Indian film star named Akkineni Nagarjuna is alleged to have gotten a special tax break from government officials after newly acquiring the property, prompting an outcry by neighbors. (BTW, when I measure the acreage of his “farm house” with Google Earth I get 8.6 acres, not 6.5 acres as reported in the story. Surely it’s not that easy to avoid taxes in Hyderabad?)

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