The Greater Noida Authority may have plans to go for fresh land acquisition in Shahberi village, where the fate of thousands of houses being built by key real estate developers has become uncertain following a court order quashing the land acquisition, but farmers of the village are not in a mood to give a second chance to the authority as of now.
The authority has said it would go for acquisition only after hearing and addressing farmers' objections — something not done in the case of Shahberi and, thus, the process was held illegal by the courts. But villagers are not impressed.
Village head Chandra Dutt Sharma said, “We were beaten up, sent to jail. Policemen camped in the village. They damaged our standing crops and orchards. They didn’t agree to wait. We will not deal with the authority again.”
“The process of hearing objections is done away with only in case of projects of public good. But the state government is using the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act to suspend our right to object. The land use was changed from industrial to residential. Had it not been so, at least we would have got jobs for our children,” said Intsaab Hussain, a farmer.
Villagers said they were all waiting for the authority to return their land. About 90% of the farmers had not accepted the compensation and moved court against the acquisition.
Most of them hinted the land was no longer fit for cultivation because of the presence of concrete. Luckily, only 25 hectares of land (out of 156 hectares) had been used for construction. Builders deliberately went slow as they suspected the land was disputed.
Villagers said they have no hesitation in selling their plots to builders directly. Former village head Rajpal Singh said, "The authority may increase the quantum of land acquired, which is returned to farmers as rehabilitation benefits under its so-called new policy, but it will never pay us the market rates. It knows it will have to so all over the twin cities. And we are not interested in their money."
Momin Hussain, whose family will get 250 bighas of land after the SC order, said, “No one listened to us — neither the authority, nor the builders. Now, that we have won the legal battle, they are again coming to us. We know what to do with our land.”