DELHI: In a recent hearing in the land-acquisition case pertaining to Greater Noida West (formerly Noida Extension)—comprising villages like Patwari, Bisrakh, Khairpur, Roja, Itehda, Haibatpur, Saini and others—the Supreme Court has directed the protesting farmers to file their counter-affidavit within three weeks with regard to their objections to the compensation formula worked out between them, the developers and builders, and the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA).
On the farmers’ petition, the Supreme Court set up a three-member committee headed by Justice H L Dattu to look into the petitioners’ grievance that even after a written assurance, the development authority has not yet given them developed plots around 10% of the land acquired.
According to the petitioner farmers, the authority has disbursed only the increased compensation, but is yet to provide farmers the benefits of abadi plots as well. In their petition, farmers have demanded that if this promise is not kept, their land acquired by the GNIDA under emergency clause be quashed.
The GNIDA officials say that the authority has already informed the court that there is no adequate, available land bank to allot 10% developed land, which would fulfil the settlement reached in the land dispute.
The authority, however, is already readying to pay more compensation-beyond the promised 64.7%— provided that the farmers are ready to withdraw their demand for developed plots.
The development authority says it is already reeling under huge financial burden, as it has recently disbursed more than Rs 3,000 crore in line with the court’s directive to pay increased compensation. To meet the additional demand for 10% developed plots, the authority has to arrange for more than 350 hectares, which is not a feasible proposition, the officials say.
Dushyant Nagar, convenor of Kishan Sangharsh Samiti, says: “Our land dispute related cases are still pending in the court. There are more than 1,000 writ petitions filed from 65 villages of Greater Noida. Of these, 14 villages are from Greater Noida West, including villages Khairpur, Itehda, Saini, Roja, Haibatpur, Patwari, Bisrakh, etc. We are forced to disturb development work in and around Greater Noida West-but only in support of our demands like allotment of abadi land (land offered in developed sectors as compensation) and adequate compensation in cash. We are dissatisfied with compensation given by the authority in lieu of our land, and have approached the court to challenge the land acquisition under emergency clauses.”
Earlier, the Allahabad high court had sought to resolve the land dispute through a special compensation formula to the farmers by awarding 64.7% raise in compensation, regularizing abadi land, and allocation of 10% developed plots in lieu of the acquired land.
To comply with the court verdict, the GNIDA has decided to pass on 50% of the enhanced compensation amount of Rs 3,000 crore to the builders. Now, if it were to meet the farmers’ demand, it will entail an extra burden of Rs 9,500 crore to meet the cost of developed plots. For this, the authority is already charging Rs 2,015 per sq metre from builders and Rs 1,465 per sq metre from individual residential plot allottees of Greater Noida West.
Due to the prolonged stand-off over the land acquisition, there is uncertainty over future development of Greater Noida.
The protracted litigation is putting enormous burden upon all the stakeholders in the development of Greater Noida West. The realty projects of many builders who invested a huge amount of money here are at stake; also, the GNIDA spent cores of rupees on internal and external developments here like roads, sewers, drainage, etc. Keeping all these in mind, it is now a major challenge to protect the interest of all the investors, end users, developers, and the farmers of the Greater Noida West.
The verdict of the Allahabad high court paved the way for disposing of the land acquisition issues in Noida-Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway Zone. Most of demands like increased compensation and plotted development have almost been met. But, now the farmers of Greater Noida West are demanding a relook on all the acquisition cases since the satellite township began, and have approached the Supreme Court for relief. The GNIDA has taken this challenge seriously and started negotiation with farmers to meet their demands-but some demands are not acceptable, as these are unviable, officials of GNIDA say.
The farmers here are demanding not just higher compensation but also a full resolution of all abadi disputesthis when the GNIDA had almost settled the abadi issues under Abadi Niyamawali. Under this, the authority decided to regularize the abadi according to land possessed (whether encroached) by farmers by June 30, 2011-the GNIDA offered 6% abadi land benefit to the farmers to settle the dispute.
On the farmers’ petition, the Allahabad high court had quashed land acquisition in Shahberi and Patwari villages where a number of housing projects had been planned. The GNIDA had acquired this land by invoking urgency clause under Section 17(1) and 17(4) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, that dispenses with the hearing required to be given to the farmers (landowners) under Section 5A of the act. The farmers then filed a petition challenging the notification issued under Sections 4, 6, 17 (1) (4) of the Land Acquisition Act.
After hearing the case on a daily basis, the Allahabad high court had given a judgment in favour of the farmersraising the compensation by 64.7% and awarding 10% of developed plots on their acquired lands. While the increased compensation, in cash, has already been paid, the GNIDA has not yet given the 10% abadi land as promised due to lack of available land bank.
After the Allahabad high court dismissed the review petition of the farmers and the authority, the NCR Planning Board came into the picture and took the matter ahead. The biggest question was whether the GNIDA had taken the necessary approvals for acquisition, planning, and development of the areas under litigation or not.
For the large cluster of housing projects in this area, there seems to be no end to the uncertainty looming over the fate of these projects. It was a dream destination for the people of the NCR looking for residential options in the affordable-housing segment. With builders launching projects with lucrative offers to woo buyers, thousands of people bought property here believing this to be a secure investment option.
The Greater Noida authority allotted land to more than 30 builders—like Amrapali, Supertech, Nirala, Eros, Antriksh, Earth Infrastructures, Ajnara, Gaursons, Gulshan Homes, etc, at Rs 10,000-11,600 per sq metre through tender. More than 3,000 hectares comprising Sector 1, 2, 3, Ecotech 13 were allocated in Greater Noida West. In addition, around 4,250 residential plots were allotted through lucky draw, at Rs 10,500 per sq metre.
Manoj Gaur, MD of Gaursons Ltd, says: “Owing to the litigation, the delay in resumption of construction work created a lot of confusion among the buyers and the developers for a long time. Now, with the increase in the cost of input materials, the construction costs have gone up drastically and it’s near impossible to commence work by committing to the same initial offer prices to customers. Initially, buyers came here thinking that such good houses with such amenities were not available anywhere at such affordable prices. However, the developers’ community expects the authority to settle all legal issues so that we may continue the construction work in Greater Noida West.”