Farmers have filed in courts 1,500 fresh cases in a year against the three industrial development authorities in Gautam Budh Nagar—Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway – and challenged land acquisition.
The authorities do not have money or land to implement court orders and pacify farmers.
The Greater Noida authority does not know how to pay back Rs 5,500 crore as bank loans. The Noida authority does not have vacant land parcels. The two authorities are challenging in the Supreme Court a high court order which has ordered greater relief to farmers.
While builders have begun scouting land parcels in other cities – several Noida-based builders have moved to Gurgaon – it’s the homebuyersnot know where to go to.
"The problem is not limited to forcible acquisition of land, at cheap rates, for industries and its allotment to builders. Care was not taken to see what was being acquired. This also led to this mess," said a senior official.
The authorities are supposed to return5-6% – now the high court has raised the share to 10% – of the developed land to farmers. "But the authorities denied this benefit to a large number of farmers," he said.
"Officials said these farmers had encroached upon portions of the acquired land in the name of abadi land. In Noida alone, of the roughly 6,000 farmers who have been demanding plots, half of them are locked in abadi disputes with the authority," he said.
From 1997 to 2008, the Noida authority allotted plots only to a handful of farmers. After 2008, the pace of allotment picked up some pace but only after farmers upped the anted and realty projects looked in danger.
Actually, officials of successive governments never did village surveys and drew acquisition plans in office. They acquired land from farmers in chunks—which often included portions of abadi land—and said it would settle abadid disputes later and allot developed land plots to farmers as rehabilitation benefits then. But it seldom happened.
"The same officials termed abadi areas encroachment because in government records they had been acquired. This fuelled anger and farmers began moving court," said farmer leader Roopesh Verma.
In some cases, farmers indeed encroached acquired land and added it to the abadi areas.
The government used the abadi disputes—created largely by its wrong policies—as an excuse not to allot plots saying it needed to know the exact quantum of land acquired before a certain percentage of it could be given back to farmers.