The Uttar Pradesh government's plan to build a residential hub on 2,000 acres in 11 villages in Noida Extension received a second jolt on Tuesday, with the Allahabad high court setting aside the acquisition of 589 hectares in Patwari village.
The judgment comes after a Supreme Court verdict earlier this month, quashing the acquisition of 156 hectares in Shahberi village in the same area.Three years ago, the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) acquired the land for industrial purposes, using an urgency clause, but allotted it to 11 real estate players, who planned 50,000 housing units in the village. Bookings for more than 20,000 houses had already been done.
Now, land acquisition in the other nine villages has also been challenged on the same ground that was put forward by Shahberi farmers - the land was acquired and allotted to builders without paying heed to farmers' objections.
GNIDA CEO Rama Raman, however, said, "Legal options are open. We will go for a review of the decision."
Later in the evening, Noida Extension builders hurriedly convened a press conference and announced that the interests of buyers would be protected at all costs.
Vice-president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI-NCR), Anil Sharma, said, "Things have got very complicated. We did not expect this judgment as most farmers in Patwari had accepted compensation."
Promising that the builders would "extract the maximum from the authorities", he said, "We will not allow the buyers to suffer. The state government must find a solution to the problem." He said the credibility of the developers was at stake.
CREDAI national vice-president Gitambar Anand said the builders would approach Supreme Court to challenge the high court order.
The builders, however, hinted at a bigger crisis.
Sharma said, "In addition to the 20,000 buyers, about 2,500 land allottees have also been affected… allotments for schools and hospital have been affected. In the days to come, the whole area may be affected."
Regarding refund, although Supertech's RK Arora said investors must cooperate with builders so that buyers' money could be returned, buyers are not impressed.
Shishir Gupta, who booked a flat with Supertech's Eco Village 2, said, "There is no point in shifting to another project in Noida Extension. I will have to stretch my budget to buy a home. Plus, refunds are not forthcoming."
Gaurav Bhatia, who booked a flat in Mahaguns' Mywoods, said, "About 250 members of the Mywoods project are planning to file a petition in court."