South Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - This Place for This Very Business: Negotiating Land Use, Compliance, and Livelihood in a Scrap Market in Delhi

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

In April 2010, workers and dealers in MPS market, a metal scrap and parts market located in Delhi, India, were exposed to radioactive waste that entered the market from an unknown source. Within a few days, one person had died, and many others were hospitalized. In the following days, the radioactive material was identified as Cobalt-60 and tracked down to a research laboratory in the University of Delhi. The laboratory had disposed of an old gamma irradiator as scrap metal.
Subsequently, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was registered in the Delhi High Court which was then shifted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) of India. The petition sought to move the entire market to the outskirts of the city highlighting issues of environmental pollution and health risks arising from certain activities of the market.
In this paper, I will explore how ‘land-use’ became a common fulcrum around which the varied claims of the residents, traders, city corporations, and other government entities turned, each implying radically different ends. In light of these, I look to the conceptual strategies the green court used to resolve them with a judgment which combined specific ideas of pollution, trade, and notions of harm.

Ishani Saraf

University of California, Davis, United States

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4 - This Place for This Very Business: Negotiating Land Use, Compliance, and Livelihood in a Scrap Market in Delhi



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