All for a roof over their heads

Noida/Greater Noida

An injured farmer during the Greater Noida protest against land acquisition.  In fact, protests by the agricultural community in this region of western Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country led the UPA government at the Centre to usher in a new legal regime for land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced.

Courts of the country also intervened in the matter to protect the interests of farmers, who approached them alleging that their lands were taken over under the archaic Land Acquisition Act of 1894, often through arbitrary mean.

In May, Allahabad High Court, in its verdict favouring farmers of Shahberi village, asked Greater Noida Authority (GNA) to return acquired land to farmers. On July 6, Supreme Court upheld the HC judgement, cancelling the allotment of builders. The farmers had approached the court alleging that GNA had cheated them and acquired their land at cheap rates for industrialisation and sold it to builders at higher rates.

Inspired by the verdict, villagers from at least nine to ten other villages have approached the court with similar pleas.

Farmers in the region are happy with the verdict of the court and the provisions of draft land acquisition Bill. “We are not against development, which benefits us also. Let the government pay us six times the current value, we will give our land,” Jasbir Singh, a farmer from Patwari village in Greater Noida told Deccan Herald.

Home buyers in doldrums

Unlike the celebratory mood of the farmers willing to part with their land for a fair price, home buyers are a distraught lot after investing their hard-earned money in housing projects here.

In Noida and Greater Noida, more than 50 builders are developing almost 3.20 lakh homes and 60,000 of these units have already been sold with total investment in these projects pegged at more than Rs 1 lakh crore.

The Court order has affected at least 30,000 buyers, whose dream to own a house in the times of skyrocketing price of real estate seems to be in danger of getting shattered.

The apex court has asked the developers to pay back the effected buyers. Builders have also agreed to return the money with interest but the effected buyers have just one demand - a house.

“We did not invest to earn interest. We put our money to have a roof over our head. It will be difficult to buy a house in other projects even if our money is returned because property rates have shot up. Our only demand is that we want our flat,” R P Tyagi, chairman of Noida Flat Buyers’ Association, said.

‘What applies to private business must apply to private land’

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