CORRECTED-FEATURE-Land, votes and progress at stake in India's property crunch

Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:37am GMT

(Corrects figure for China urbanisation paragraph 13; edits paragraphs 8,9)

* Land grab disputes escalate on outskirts of India capital

* Major property projects stalled, weigh on investor sentiment

* Land acquisition conflicts ripple across India

* Politics may trump development as polls loom

By Sanjeev Choudhary and James Pomfret

GREATER NOIDA, India, July 27 (Reuters) - On the eastern fringes of teeming New Delhi, construction sites criss-cross vast tracts of cleared farmland in the city of Greater Noida as a stampede of developers rush to build cheaper, suburban apartments for India's swelling urban middle class.

But this is India, a nation struggling to modernise, and the building boom has become entangled in a lot of the same problems that have often held back the breakneck growth of Asia's third largest economy: corruption, political meddling, haphazard development planning, and a shifting legal landscape.

Greater Noida's land woes are also a microcosm of a broader dilemma facing India: balancing the livelihoods of villagers with the need to maintain economic growth, revamp shoddy infrastructure and acquire enough land to build mass housing for urban dwellers.   Continued...

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