© 2020

Land Acquisition and Compensation in India

Mysteries of Valuation


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Sattwick Dey Biswas
    Pages 1-25
  3. Sattwick Dey Biswas
    Pages 27-51
  4. Sattwick Dey Biswas
    Pages 53-79
  5. Sattwick Dey Biswas
    Pages 81-109
  6. Sattwick Dey Biswas
    Pages 213-232
  7. Sattwick Dey Biswas
    Pages 233-254
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 255-293

About this book


This book discusses development and land acquisitions in India and analyzes a conceptual framework based on “paradox of values” and “plural value of land.” The research links the issue of valuation to its roots in classic economic theory and to its individual perception. The project offers an insightful perspective on current challenges of urbanization and development in the Global South, where land use regimes are in a highly dynamic transition to allow for urban amenities, housing and industrial land. The author concludes with a derived scheme or framework that addresses various potentials to better address values of land during land acquisition. It is an ideal book for anyone interested in land markets, land appraisal and land economics and land acquisition in the Global South.

Sattwick Dey Biswas is Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy (National Law School of India University), India. 


india Land acquisition development polyrational Global North and South justice political economy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Public PolicyNational Law School of India UniversityBengaluruIndia

About the authors

Sattwick Dey Biswas is Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy (National Law School of India University), India. 

Bibliographic information


“Karl Polanyi called labor a fictitious commodity. Land is even more problematic. Land is mere imagined latency expressed along a continuum of contending dreams. How could land possibly have a single value to a diverse community of dreamers? Sattwick Dey Biswas sheds important light on the meaning of land in two expropriation cases in West Bengal, India. The empirical research is exemplary, the theoretical ground is well developed, and the findings are robust. The value of a parcel of land is not discovered. Rather, that value is created as various contending meanings of land are expressed, debated, and finally resolved.” (Daniel W. Bromley, Anderson-Bascom Professor of Applied Economics (Emeritus), University of Wisconsin-Madison)

“Sattwick Dey Biswas’ The Mysteries of Valuation is an incisive analysis of the multiple uses and values of land in contemporary India. Rooted in a careful reading of classical theories of value and valuation, Dey Biswas guides us closer to an understanding of why the vexed problem of land dispossession and displacement refuses to go away. Readers interested in the ongoing land grab in the global south and their associated conflicts would do well to consult this thought-provoking book.” (Kenneth Bo Nielsen. Associate Professor. Department of Social Anthropology. The Centre for Development and the Environment, Oslo University, Norway.  Coordinator, Norwegian Network of Asian Studies)

“This book combines deeper reflections on the theories of property valuation and social question with two exciting cases of land acquisition in India. The book is a marvellous exposition that valuation as frame provides the most worthwhile lens for a public policy scholar.” (Sony Pellissery, Executive Director, Institute of Public Policy (NLSIU), Bangalore)

“Sattwick Dey Biswas’s important book constructs a bridge between usually disconnected areas of knowledge: law of expropriation (compulsory purchase), generations of philosophy of land and economics, and the often-enigmatic practices of the land valuators.  Dr Dey Biswas merges together a set of complex concepts with Ben Davy’s exciting “plural values of land”.  Through a brilliant research method, he then succeeds in operationalizing these concepts into a tool to gauge the opinions of stakeholders in real-life expropriation cases in India.  The book is intellectually challenging – as it should be - but is also very well written.  The mystery of valuation may never be solved, but this book certainly lays out the path in the right direction.” (Professor Rachelle Alterman, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Founding President – International Academic Association on Planning, Law and Property Rights)

“Mysteries of valuation” explores valuation of land from a theoretical perspective with empirical evidence from a case study analysis in India. One of the strongest points of the book is that it recaps the theoretical development of value and valuation in great detail and therewith provides a comprehensive and almost exhaustive theoretical framework on valuation – starting from Adam Smith to more recent approaches of plural land values. An important book for everyone who is concerned with land markets, land appraisal and land economics!” (Dr. Thomas Hartmann, Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Wageningen University. June 2019)