Thrusday, July 07, 2011

SC Quashes Gr Noida Land Acquisition

              Around 20,000 people who bought apartments in Noida Extension near Delhi are likely to be impacted by the Supreme Court’s order on Wednesday that has upheld the Allahabad High Court’s verdict quashing acquisition of land in Greater Noida
              In May, the high court had directed the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority to hand over 156 hectares to villagers and farmers of Shahberi village.
              The authority and some builders that have acquired land in the area decided to move the Supreme Court against the order. Developers like Mahagun, Amrapali, Supertech, Ajnara, Panchsheel Buildtech, among others, have a number of mid-income housing projects in the area that have been unofficially named Noida Extension.
              “GNIDA allotted the land to builders in complete violation for which the land was acquired,” a bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly said. The bench said even before the government approved the use of land from industrial to residential purposes, the authority allotted the land to some builders. The bench said it need not interfere into the judgement of the division bench of the high court, which held that the urgency provision applied by the authority for the acquisition of land was “entirely a colourable exercise of power.”
              The apex court also imposed . 10 lakh as cost on the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority and directed it to hand over the land to the villagers and farmers.
              Property brokers who operate in Noida Extension said that sales have come to a naught following the ongoing controversy and the uncertainty around the issue. Real estate firm Amrapali’s 40-acre Smart City project falls within Shahberi village and has been cancelled by the builder. When the high court gave its order in May, the developer had already sold 4,000 of the 4,700 apartments in the area. “Since May, we have shifted about 3,500 of our buyers to a similar project close by. Some 200 have asked for a refund and others were waiting for the Supreme Court order,” said Shiv Priya, executive director at Amrapali.
              For most other developers, portions of their projects fall under Shahberi village, which has been impacted by Wednesday’s court order. Anuj Choudhary, director at Panchsheel Buildtech, which has a 20-acre project here says about 124 flats in his project, which are sold but yet to be developed, fall on this land and will be impacted.
              “We will give an option to these buyers to shift to another house in the same project or any other project of ours depending on their booking price,” he added. Supertech, which is developing Eco Village 2 on a 80-acre plot, said it has only about 5 acres of this project in Shahberi village. “Since we got to know that there was a dispute on this portion, no towers were launched here,” said RK Arora, managing director, Supertech. A group of farmers from Shahberi village had not picked up compensation for the land that was acquired by the authority. These farmers went to court to challenge the government notification for land acquisition issues in September 2007.
              Developers claim all land was bought by them though a transparent competitive bidding process for which the Greater Noida Authority had advertised in newspapers.