Eighty-year-old Radhe Lal is a distraught man nowadays. A resident of village Navrangpur, his family lost about 800 bighas of land when acquisition took place for the construction of Rs 1,700-crore Formula 1 racing track in Dankaur in 2007-08.
He said the family got cash compensation (Rs 800 per sqm) after a series of protests, but more important issues have not yet been addressed.
“Our abadi land was also acquired by the government. They said it was done because of technical faults. They promised to return it under their leaseback policy. This has not happened. We are also to get developed plots under the promised rehabilitation benefits. Actually, there is no developed land in the area,” Lal rued.
He is not alone. There are about 5,000 families rendered affected because of the acquisition of 1,000 hectares of land which has been allotted to Jaypee Infratech for construction of the track, located 9 km from Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida.
The acquisition took place in several villages — including Bhuj Kheda, Atta Gujran, Salarpur, Navrangpur and partly in Dungarpur Reelka and Chapargarh (Mirzapur). No family has been allotted developed plots. Many are yet to get the wrongly acquired abadi land.
Jaydeep Nagar, a farmer leader, said, “On an average, 60 families in each village are yet to get back their abadi land.
The government only understands the language of aggression.” Narendra Nagar, a farmer, said, “We have been fighting for our rights since December 2008. We don’t understand the logic of acquiring farmland for construction of such sporting facilities, affecting a population as big as 30,000.”
India’s inaugural grand prix will be held in October.
Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) chief executive officer Captain SK Dwivedi said, “The land was allotted to the builder under a special development zone. We have carried out the leaseback exercise in six villages. We will soon allot developed plots to those whose land has been acquired.”
Allotment of developed plots to farmers can be made only after settlement of abadi land disputes.
The fight for cash compensation has not been easy too. The government first offered Rs 40 to Rs 110 per sqm. Farmers protested and it was raised to Rs 339 per sqm. The protests continued and compensation was raised to Rs 700 per sqm. During the tenure of district magistrate Shrawan Kumar, both parties finally agreed on Rs 800 per sqm, besides developed plots measuring 7% of the total land acquired.
In an email to HT, Manoj Gaud, a Jaypee official, recently said, “All land required for the development of Formula 1 track has been acquired and mutually agreed compensation paid to farmers.”
Along the Yamuna Expressway, builders have launched several housing and commercial projects. Jaypee has been building India’s first F1 track, near the villages, which witnessed bloody clashes between the police and farmers.