As the Greater Noida authority claimed more than half of the 1,400-odd farmers in Patwari had accepted cheques promising to let realtors resume construction of residential towers, farmers have begun accusing the authority of cheating them.
"We are not able to encash the cheques. It seems banks have been told to release money only after August 17," they said. The Allahabad high court will hear all land acquisition cases filed by villages in Noida Extension, where the fate of 2,25 lakh houses is at stake, on August 17.
"The decision, if it comes, could go either way. The authority has obtained agreement affidavits from farmers but wants to wait for the judgment before releasing money. This is cheating," they said.
The authority had on August 6 hiked the land compensation from Rs 850 per sqm, paid earlier in Patwari, to Rs 1,400 per sqm. This means an additional burden of R295 crore to the authority. The cheque distribution began on August 7. Village head Reshpal Yadav confirmed cheques had been cleared till date. He, however, said, "Bank holidays may be one possible reason for the delay."
Farmer leader Ajay Nagar said, "The authority has misled farmers. Several farmers are against the agreement. The court may or may not approve it."
"Farmers deposited the cheques in their accounts but when they went to withdraw the money, the bank told that cheques were still under clearance," he said.
"Bank officials hinted they have been directed to credit the amount only after August 18," said Nagar.
"Had they informed us about this, I would not have signed the agreement or agreed to withdraw the case against land acquisition," said Suresh Chand, a farmer.
On July 19, the high court set aside forcible acquisition of 589 hectares of land in Patwari, leaving 20,000 homebuyers. Earlier on July 6, the Supreme Court quashed acquisition of 156 hectares, affecting 6,500 investors.
The court on July 26 gave the government time till August 12 to work out out-of-court settlements with Noida Extension villages.