The wide grin never left the face of Dharmveer Yadav. “It's a victory for the farming community. I had lost 40 bighas land during the acquisition in 2008 and was forced to accept the measly compensation. Our struggle has finally ended,” he said.
Satpal Yadav, the former village head, said, “My family was forced to part with 100 bighas. The court judgment is a slap on the faces of those out to grab prime farmland and make money by allowing construction of luxury houses by flouting all norms.”
Spontaneous celebration broke out as farmers danced and distributed sweets after the Allahabad High Court order.
The judgment was slightly unexpected in the sense that unlike the case of Shahberi village, where a similar order quashed forcible acquisition of 156 hectares, most farmers in Patwari had accepted the compensation offered to them.
“We thought that our land would never be returned to us and the authority might be told to pay higher compensation. But this is what we wanted — total justice,” said Satpal.
Patwari village head Rashpal Yadav said farmers were ready to sell the land again if the government offered higher rates as provided under the Haryana land acquisition model.
“We are ready to fight if the authority challenges the HC order in Supreme Court. We want R20 lakh per bigha. We were forced to accept R7 lakh per bigha,” he said.
With the court order in their favour, farmers are now setting the rules. They insist that the land be acquired only for industries. Ram Singh and Sagua Singh said, “The land was acquired for industrial use but auctioned for residential purpose. This is cheating. Not only this, our objections were not heard. If industries are set up on the land acquired from us, at least our children will get jobs.”
Farmers of all 11 villages in Noida Extension plan to hold a panchayat on August 7.