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Land acquisition cancelled in three Greater Noida villages

Friday October 21, 2011 06:40:33 PM, IANS

Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court Friday ordered cancellation of land acquisition in three villages of Noida and Greater Noida, besides declaring a 64 percent hike in the compensation for acquired land.

A special three-judge bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.U. Khan and V.K. Shukla gave the verdict on a joint writ petition moved by 491 farmers from more than a dozen villages in Gautam Budh Nagar district, forming Noida and Greater Noida.

More than 3,000 hectares of land was acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government for large scale urbanization in these areas.

The judgment will, however, jeopardise the dreams of thousands of applicants who were hoping to own a home under different housing schemes undertaken in the three villages - Deola, Chak-Shahberi (Greater Noida) and Asadullahpur (Noida) - where the court has quashed the acquisition.

Farmers of these three villages have been entitled to restoration of their acquired land, subject to return of all compensation they have received so far.

The court said: "The Greater Noida Authority and its allottees are directed not to carry on development and not to implement the Master Plan 2021 till the observations and directions of the National Capital Regional Planning Board are incorporated in Master Plan 2021 to the satisfaction of the National Capital Regional Planning Board. "

The court further called for immediate suspension of all construction and urbanization activity in 40 villages of Greater Noida until a clearance was obtained from an officer of the rank of principal secretary that the work was in accordance with the norms laid down by the National Capital Region (NCR) Planning Board.

Meanwhile, 19 other petitions moved on behalf of farmers of two other villages were rejected as these were "time-barred".

In addition to monetary compensation, the Noida and Greater Noida authorities have also been directed to give developed land to every farmer, whose land was acquired.

"All the petitioners shall be entitled for allotment of developed 'Abadi' plot to the extent of 10 percent of their acquired land subject to a maximum of 2,500 sq metres.

"We, however, leave it open to the Authority in cases where allotment of Abadi plot to the extent of six percent or eight percent have already been made either to make allotment of the balance of the area or may compensate the land owners by payment of the amount equivalent to balance area as per average rate of allotment made of developed residential plots," the court ruled.

Litigation in Noida and Greater Noida has been on the rise ever since the Mayawati government took up large scale urbanization in and around the entire area.

What sparked off major trouble was violent protests which put the state government in a tight spot, particularly after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi plunged in to take up the cause of farmers.

What came as a morale booster for them was the order of the high court May 12, striking down the acquisition of 156 hectares of land in Shahberi village.

The court cancelled the acquisition on the plea that land was acquired in the village in the name of "planned industrial development of Greater Noida", but later handed over to private developers for building housing projects."

The state government's appeal against the high court was later struck down by the Supreme Court, which further encouraged more farmers to challenge the acquisition of land in larger areas around.

As the issue acquired larger magnitude, with the fate of hundreds of farmers, real estate companies and thousands of flat buyers at stake, the court decided to constitute a special three-judge bench to take up the matter on which the verdict was pronounced Friday.

Reacting to the judgment, farmers' counsel Lalji Thakur told mediapersons: "We welcome the court's decision to increase the compensation, but we still feel that acquisition in several villages needs to be scrapped."

"A final decision on making an appeal to the Supreme Court would be taken only after I have had a detailed discussion with my farmer clients," he said.







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