HC orders UP to return 3,000 ha of land to farmers

In a major blow to the Uttar Pradesh government, the Allahabad High Court has ordered the government to return 3,000 hectares of land in three villages that it had acquired to the dispossessed farmers.

Farmers from 64 villages in Noida, Greater Noida and Noida Extension had challenged the acquisition of the land, following which the court ruled that the farmers in Asadallapur, Devla and Saberi villages who had already accepted compensation could reclaim their land by returning the amount.

Farmers in 37 other villages where land has been acquired will get 64 per cent additional compensation and 10 per cent of the developed land.

The order was passed by a specially constituted three-judge bench of the court comprising justices Ashok Bhushan, S U Khan and V K Shukla on a writ petition filed by 491 farmers who had challenged the acquisition.

The court took serious note of the fact that vast tracts of land in the district were acquired by invoking the urgency clause for the purpose of "planned industrial development". However, the land was later handed over to private builders for construction of residential complexes. There have been angry protests by farmers in Noida and Greater Noida over the matter.

There is considerable anxiety among the builders and buyers of the property, as some of the land has already been developed and construction work has been going on at several multi-storey complexes.