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SC upholds high court order on land acquisition in Noida, Greater Noida

In a major setback to private developers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Allahabad High Court’s…

In a major setback to private developers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Allahabad High Court’s order that directed the government authorities to pay 64.7% additional compensation to farmers whose land was acquired in Noida and Greater Noida.

The high court had cancelled acquisition of land in three villages of Noida and Greater Noida and directed government authorities to pay higher compensation as well as 10% of developed land in 60 other villages falling in the vicinity to farmers. Both Noida authority and Greater Noida authority had challenged the HC order.

A bench headed by chief Justice HL Dattu dismissed more than 1,000 petitions filed by the Noida and Greater Noida authorities, who wanted the developed land to be given to farmers should be reduced to 5% for Noida and 6% for Greater Noida. It directed the authorities to pay the additional compensation of 64.7% to the farmers within two months and 10% of the developed land to the land owners within six months.

However, the apex court left open the issue about prior permission from National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) by the state government before taking any development activities in future.

In October 2011, the high court adjudicated a case where farmers alleged that their land had been forcibly taken away by the Uttar Pradesh government using the “urgency clause”, but instead of giving the land to industry, it had been allotted to builders without paying fair compensation to farmers.

About 491 farmers from 61 villages in Gautam Budh Nagar district had challenged the acquisition of more than 3,000 hectares of land by the government agencies invoking the urgency clause. They had contended that their land was acquired forcibly without hearing them out and they were handed out meagre compensation. Farmers had protested saying that while land was acquired from them at a pittance it was later sold to real estate players at a much higher amount who in turn sold it at a further profit to home buyers.

Pursuant to the HC order in October 2011, the Greater Noida Authority has already issued notices to 32 housing societies, asking them to pay R2,015 per square metre as additional compensation for land-losers. But, according to sources, residents of these societies have refused to pay up, saying if there was a flaw in the original acquisition, the Greater Noida Authority is responsible, not those who subsequently bought houses built on the acquired land. They said that it is unfair to make home owners pay for extra compensation.

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