The SC order has put brakes on the construction of 10,000 houses, leaving buyers running from pillar to post for relief. But the crisis is not limited to these many houses.
Half of the land acquired for construction of houses have either been used, or, in some cases, set aside for public facilities like roads, parks and a drainage system. But with the court asking the authority to return land to farmers the entire master plan will go for toss.
“We will follow the order in letter and spirit. We will take the entire land from builders and return it to farmers,” said Greater Noida CEO Rama Raman. Sources said structures like roads and drains would be razed.
"The idea is to make the land fit for cultivation," an official said. With more and more villagers moving court, seeking quashing of land acquisition, officials fear the planning of development in Greater Noida will be disturbed beyond repair.
Anxiety has begun looming in the developed sectors too. Occupants already staying in constructed houses are also getting jittery. "Yes, people who were given possession long back are asking if acquisition of land on which their houses stand can be quashed too. We try to convince them. Farmers have taken compensation. The houses there are safe.”
Ever since the Greater Noida authority was formed in 1991, all land have been acquired using the urgency clause — something held illegal by the courts. The only hope is that there are not many villages like Shahberi where a majority of farmers refused to take compensation. "Only 15% of the land was set aside for housing.
Most of the other projects are in public good, for which use of the urgency clause is justified," said an official.
The Allahabad high court on Tuesday will hear petitions filed by farmers of Bisrakh, Haibatpur and Ghanghola. Another petition from same villages seeking quashing of land acquisition will be heard on July 21. A petition from Patwari village will be heard next week. Fate of thousands of housing projects hangs in balance.