Another three days to go for a very elite and equally expensive event which will take place in National Capital Region of India. The International Formula One Grand Prix will entertain thousands of people who can spend a minimum of Rs 2,500 for the ticket. If you want to see the car and the driver with your naked eyes, the minimum you will pay is Rs 35,000. You can convert the event into a really elite one [with entertainments within entertainment – like whisky served by delicate hands, etc] by spending Rs 10 lakh for a package meant for 8 persons.
This is taking place in the National Capital Region of a country whose Planning Commission recently argued that Rs 32 is enough for an individual to live in the city.
The Grand Prix [the ‘x’ is silent, otherwise a very appropriate name!] created more Indians who will have to survive on Rs 32 per day. About 1000 hectares of land was acquired from 5000 agricultural families for constructing the racing track. The farmers were paid Rs 800 per square metre when the market price in Greater Noida [where the Rs 1700-crore track, named rather ironically after the Buddha, is constructed] was Rs 12,000 per square metre.
Mayawati, the chief minister of the state, likes to project herself as the saviour of the lower castes, the Dalits. She has even constructed a park which cost Rs 685 crore [about $140 million] in honour of the Dalits – in honour of a people whose children may not have enough food to eat, let alone be able to attend the school.
Mayawati knows how to acquire land from the farmers. She has acquired much land from farmers at cheap rates for various “public purposes” such as housing projects. Private builders reaped the benefits of such deals. Middlemen also gained much. The whole land deal scams in Uttar Pradesh may cross Rs 1 lakh crore.
What if farmers are displaced from their lands, however? The Grand Prix will attract a lot of foreign tourists. The tickets for foreigners are fully booked, it seems. The Grand Prix rakes in dollars, pounds and euros. India will prosper. India will be an economic superpower. What if 400 million people may not have enough to eat? What if 400 million people may be illiterate? Aren’t we entertaining a few thousand people? We are a great nation of sacrificers; we sacrifice our farmers, our health, our literacy so that the Grand Prix will be entertained.
Let’s raise a toast to ourselves with booming crackers and scintillating fireworks this Diwali.