To prevent more villages from raising their voices against the construction of luxury houses on forcibly acquired farmland and seeking their land back, key real estate players have loosened their purse-strings.
Builders’ agents are holding meetings with farmers in villages, taking them to their corporate offices and restaurants in Noida for “negotiations”.
Farmer leaders can be seen coming out of builders’ offices even late in the night. “After the Supreme Court judgment, which quashed land acquisition in Shahberi village, there is panic among builders. With more and more villages moving court, builders want to do anything and everything to prevent rest of their projects going the Shahberi way,” said Ram Singh of Patwari village.
The Greater Noida Authority has acquired land from 3,500 families in Patwari village. Here, most families have accepted compensation, but moved court.
The high court has asked officials of the state government, the authority and builders to file their reply.
Ram Singh said, “Every day, four or five agents of builders come to the village. Some farmers have also been hired by builders as agents for greater penetration. Builders are asking us to sell our land to them directly, at rates higher than those offered by the authority."
Teekam Singh of the village echoed similar views. Builders have also targeted about dozen other villages in Noida Extension such as Bisrakh, Rauja, Haibatpur and Itaidha.
Some groups are negotiating with builders, but most farmers are angry with "visitors".
"The authority claims it launches development projects in the villages after acquisition of land. Our village has not seen any development," said some farmers in Patwari. The authority acquired land of 3,000 farmers in Patwari village in 2008.
Sagua Singh said, "The authority also tried to acquire land from other 500 farmers, promising their abadi land. They fooled 400 farmers, but the rest 100 refused to take compensation, though their land has been forcibly acquired too."
These 100-odd farmers of Patwari together "own" 25 acres of land. They continue to cultivate this chunk. This land falls between some of the builders' projects planned in the village and builders want to make these 100 farmers fall in line at any cost.