In Greater Noida land wars, it is the buyer who is the ultimate victim.
With Wednesday's judgment of the Supreme Court, hopes of buyers, who invested their hard-earned money in pursuit of dream houses in projects planned in village Shahberi, have been dashed with assurances of refund (with substantial deduction in many cases) and relocation failing to impress them.
The end users rue there is no regulatory body, which can bail them out in times of such hopelessness. So, what can the authority do? "It is a matter between the builders and buyers. But as the local development authority, we have been trying to solve the crisis at various levels, including arranging talks with farmers. Officially, we can deal only with builders who we allotted land to," said a senior official of the Greater Noida Authority.
Builders have already blamed the authority for the crisis.
Manoj Gaud, president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India, (CREDAI), West Uttar Pradesh chapter, said, "At no stage were we informed that the land in Shahberi was disputed.
"The authority's brochure and lease agreements suggested nothing of this sort. Even when maps were cleared, we were not told about any pending cases."
He further said, "It is the responsibility of the authority to clear the mess." Builders have reportedly asked the authority to go for fresh allotment of land elsewhere or return their money. The authority has allotted 2,000 acres of land in Noida Extension for Rs 9,000 crore.
If builders stop payment installments, cash inflow will become a major issue and this may also hit the ongoing process of development in Greater Noida. At this stage, the authority has not gone beyond its stance of: "We're studying the judgment. We will keep working to solve the crisis in the interest of all stakeholders."
Solving the crisis will not be easy now.
In case of acquisition in more parts of Noida Extension being set aside, it will be extremely difficult for the authority to acquire land elsewhere due to ongoing farmers' agitation, besides mounting political and judicial pressure.