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All keep their fingers crossed

india Updated: Jul 25, 2011 00:04 IST
Darpan Singh
Darpan Singh
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

After two court orders set aside forcible land acquisition in Shahberi and Patwari villages, shattering the dreams of 26,500 home buyers, all eyes are on the Allahabad High Court, which is likely to hear quash-acquisition petitions from the rest of Noida Extension villages on July 26.

In all, more than 60 builders had planned 2.5 lakh houses (worth Rs50,000 crore) in about a dozen villages. Booking for 100,000 units (worth Rs20,000 crore) had already been done. Buyers have invested Rs1,500 crore in pursuit of their dream houses. "More farmers are moving court. There is no relocation plan. Refunds are hard to come by. Buyers are hoping court will take into account their side of story too," said Prashant Kumar, a buyer.

Builders have also invested Rs10,000 in their projects. The authority had allotted 3,000 hectares of land to more than 60 builders for Rs30,000 crore to be paid in installments. The authority has spent Rs4,000 crore in terms of development of Noida Extension and compensation to farmers in Noida Extension villages. No wonder, all stakeholders are jittery.

All land in Greater Noida has been acquired using the urgency clause of Land Acquisition Act.

Both Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court have held this illegal and used as a ground to quash the land acquisition in Shahberi and Patwari. Even the acceptance of compensation is no issue now. The bigger issue, farmers said, is: the authority cannot acquire land forcibly.

With a population of 10,000, Bisrakh, where key real estate players were building 50,000 units, could cause the biggest upset. The Greater Noida authority had in 2008 acquired 608 hectares of land in Bisrakh using the urgency clause. Unlike Shahberi, where 85% farmers had not accepted compensation, half of the 500 affected families in Bisrakh had accepted compensation. "The authority used force to quell our agitation, forced us to accept money," said farmer leader Manveer Bhati.

Roza Yakoobpur with a population of 9,000 is another such village. About 1,800 farmers are awaiting the high court hearing. Eleven projects of real estate builders are at stake.

Farmers have sought their 439 hectares of land back. Roughly 20,000 buyers will be directly hit in case of an adverse decision. About 80% farmers, whose land was acquired, have accepted compensation.

Farmers now want compensation at market rates. Village head Ajay Nagar said, "We did not even notice when our land was acquired in 2008. Everything was done using force. The land was acquired for industrial development and auctioned to builders."

About 3,000 farmers of Haibatpur are also awaiting the court verdict. About 162 hectares of land had been acquired from 600 farmers in the village.