Greater Noida authority, farmers told to settle land row (Lead)

July 26th, 2011 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, July 26 (IANS) The Allahabad High Court Tuesday referred the Noida extension land acquisition issue to a larger bench and gave the Uttar Pradesh government and the agitating farmers 17 days to try and negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

The court order came over about 250 petitions that were clubbed as they involved hundreds of farmers spread across 10 villages where some 3,000 hectares of land was acquired by the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority.

The petitioners accused the authority and the state government of arbitrarily bypassing the prescribed procedure for land acquisition by unlawfully using an “urgency” clause, when the land in question was actually given away to builders and developers to build swanky residential complexes.

The division bench comprising Justice Amitabh Lala and Justice Ashok Srivastava said that the farmers and the administration were free to hold fresh negotiations and strike a deal, if possible, latest by Aug 12.

“In case no settlement comes through by Aug 12, the matter would be heard by a larger bench with effect from Aug 17,” a senior court official told reporters in Allahabad, about 200 km from here.

Alleging that the payment of compensation against their land was very low, farmers claimed that their land was taken away at a throw away price but builders and developers were making huge profits on it by charging exorbitant rates from flat applicants.

They said they had taken the cue from a few recent orders of the court that the prevailing market rate be shelled out to farmers whose land had been taken away by the authority in certain other parts of Greater Noida.

There too the administration had applied the “urgency” clause to do away with the proceedings under section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act that entitles the land owner to raise his objections against the acquisition, the farmers said.

An application moved jointly by a number of builders and developers, who wanted to be heard in the case, was turned down by the high court.

The order leaves in the lurch thousands of flat applicants who have invested their savings in the housing projects.

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