The Thursday order of the Supreme Court quashing the acquisition of 102 acres in SAS Nagar for developing Sectors 76-80, is a setback to around 350 families waiting for possession of plots to build their home for over 14 years.
The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) now, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), had acquired 1,264 acres in 2001 for developing Sectors 76, 77, 78 79 and 80, of which the major portion of the land whose acquisition has been cancelled is in Sector 79.
Even as the farmers are happy, there are questions that stakeholders will have to grapple with, over the next few months, possibly years.
Who will pay the new price?
GMADA will now acquire the land again at enhanced compensation as the new Land Acquisition Act mandates four times the market rate. With the current rate at around Rs 2.5 crore an acre, compensation of Rs 10 crore an acre would be required to be offered.
This means that the price has escalated over a 100 times since the 2001 price of an average of Rs 10 lakh per acre (between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 11 lakh). Allottees fear that additional financial liability would be imposed on them, as acquiring the land again seems the only option, given the scattered nature of ownership of the 102 acres.
The Supreme Court has clarified that the order quashing the land acquisition is qua (a legal term) only the 16 petitions filed; implying that only those farmers who had not taken the compensation award would be entitled for the enhanced compensation. The government, however, is considering filing a review petition before the larger bench of the court, sources in the chief minister’s office, said.
“The order will be examined and a decision will be taken based on legal opinion. We will ensure implementation of the order,” added Navjot Kaur, additional chief administrator, GMADA.
Ray of hope for some allottees
“In March 2001, a draw was held but in spite of having paid the money there are 800 allottees who are still awaiting possession. Things were stuck because of the litigation. At least, the allottees other than the 350 whose land acquisition has been quashed might now be able to get possession,” said Sucha Singh Kalaur, president of Sector 76-80 Plot Allotment Sangharsh Committee.
“We were sure to get possession sooner or later, but we have not been allowed to start construction. Now, there is hope for us,” added Harleen, an allottee in Sector 76.
However, development of the areas remains a challenge.
“Possession cannot be handed over to allottees until the area is developed and basic amenities like linking the sewerage lines and roads are available,” said a GMADA official.
“We had challenged the land acquisition and after fighting for 14 years, we can hope for justice for 165 families who had challenged the acquisition. All we wanted was rightful compensation to farmers whose land was acquired. GMADA’s notification was quashed after the new Land Acquisition Act came into force in 2013, and we filed writ petitions in the SC,” said DP Singh Baidwan, convener of Kisan Hitt Bachao Committee, which had challenged the acquisition.
“With the increase in compensation, this market is going to slow down. GMADA should come forward and provide a win-win solution,” said NK Marwaha, founder president, Mohali Property Consultants Association.
Only those who petitioned benefit
The supreme court has clarified that the order quashing the land acquisition is qua (a legal term) for only the 16 petitions filed; implying that only those farmers who had not taken the compensation award would be entitled for the enhanced compensation.
The affected party
GMADA will acquire the land again at enhanced compensation the new Land Acquisition Act mandates at four times market rate. Allottees fear the burden will be passed on to them.
The order will be examined and a decision will be taken based on legal opinion. We will ensure implementation. Navjot Kaur, additional chief administrator, GMADA.
100 times From Rs 10 lakh an acre to Rs 10 cr an acre: Tentative escalation in the cost of land, according to GMADA sources, following the Land Acquisition Act.