Home buyers worried over court order on land in Greater Noida

July 6th, 2011 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Home buyers were worried about their investments after the Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a lower court order quashing the acquisition of 156 hectares of farmland in Greater Noida for housing projects, even as builders assured that the money was safe.

According to officials, the builders who were initially allotted the land included the Amrapali Group, Unitech, Supertech and Mahagun. Among them, the first two were set to build some 8,000 flats, while the other two had proposed around 400 luxury villas.

The land falls under three villages — Shahberi, Surajpur and Gulistanpur — in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida district on the outskirts of the national capital.

Fearing being targeted, some investors in the projects — who had opted out rather than shift to other projects — said on condition of anonymity that the developers had told them they would get their money back only after the state government returned their money.

“For me this is very upsetting. I was hoping to own a house purely as an investment. I am not even from Delhi. I have already visited Noida thrice since May and I don’t know if I will get my money back,” said one such buyer who lives in Chennai.

But the developers said they were doing their best to help those affected.

“In the context of the honourable high court’s order, Amrapali Group decided to shift its Amrapali Smart City to Amrapali Dream Valley,” said an official of the group while referring to the decision taken after the Allahabad High Court order May 11.

According to the group, out of 4,000 people who had invested in the project, settlement had been reached with as many as 3,500. The officials also said Amrapali Smart City was among the smaller projects and had little impact on their finances.

Mahagun’s director Dhiraj Jain, in a statement posted on their group’s web site says the decision of the court did not affect their project — Mahagun Mywoods — at all, since it does not fall in the area which was disputed.

“Only some portion of land, which has been set apart for future development, might fall in the said area, but nothing has taken off there yet,” Jain has been quoted as saying in the statement.

Supertech said it has not launched or sold any project on the land that fell under the disputed site. “We are happy to assure you that all bookings received from our valued clients in the said projects are unaffected,” said the company statement.

“We hereby appeal to all our esteemed customers not to panic.”

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, said the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority had forged a nexus with the builders to forcibly take over land from farmers without following the due process.

“GNIDA allotted the land to builders in complete violation for which the land was acquired,” said the bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly. “It was entirely a colourable exercise of power.”

The Bahujan Samaj Party government, led by Chief Minister Mayawati, had taken over the land under the emergency provisions of the act under which the land owners were denied the right to be heard.

There was no justification for invoking emergency provisions to acquire the land when 60 percent of the already acquired land had not been utilised by the state, the bench said.

The court also suspected the manner in which land rules were changed from industrial to residential purposes.

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