CHANDIGARH/GURUGRAM: A day after the Supreme Court scrapped the acquisition of 688 acres in Manesar, homebuyers worried about the fate of their investments and the petitioner was concerned that farmers would have to make many more rounds of government offices to claim the compensation they were entitled to.
The Manesar land deals happened in 2004 when the Hooda government issued a notification for acquisition of 688 acres but withdrew it later. In the interim, the prospect of acquisition triggered distress sales by landowners to private builders in the belief that these deals would fetch them a better price. By the time the state rescinded the notification, the builders managed to buy 400 acres for Rs 100 crore, as opposed to the market value of Rs 1,600 crore.
On Monday, the Supreme Court reversed the scrapping of the acquisition and ruled that the ownership of the land now rested with Haryana industry body HSIIDC and urban development authority Huda. The builders, according to the ruling, could approach the government for interest-free refund of the money they paid for acquisition and development costs of the land.
“In cases where, constructions have been erected and the entire project is complete or is nearing completion, upon acceptance of the claim, the plots or apartments shall be made over to the claimants on the same terms and conditions,” states the order.
Four licences have so far been issued to developers – ABW, Karma, Unitech, and RP Estate and Innovative – who own parts of this contentious land in Manesar. Of these, work has started on two projects: ABW Aditya Niketan (which didn’t progress beyond boundary walls) and Express Greens (which is being developed by DLF after ABW sold land to it, and is nearing completion). Together, the two projects account for 3,200 flats. There are another 1,800 flats in projects conceived in the area, taking the total number of homebuyers affected by the judgment to around 5,000.
“The pertinent question is whether the developer will complete the rest of the construction or not. As homebuyers, we have made the full payment but the society is incomplete. Someone has to be assigned the responsibility of completing that work,” said a homebuyer of Express Greens, requesting anonymity. The ABW homebuyers’ group, however, saw a silver lining since the project of 2,000 flats has made no progress. “We are glad the land has been transferred to HSIIDC and Huda. We will meet officials soon to discuss the future course of action and submit our claims,” said Naresh Jindal of ABW Manesar Allottee Welfare Society.
In the state assembly, Khattar elaborated on the Supreme Court order while announcing the CBI probe. The other cases of land acquisition during Congress rule that have been handed over to CBI include Uddar Gagan of Rohtak and the villages of Nangal, Aterna and Sersa of Sonipat. Land measuring 885 acres of these villages was to be acquired. “The question arises why land measuring 650 acres was released. Now, this case had been handed over to CBI and action will be taken on the basis of its findings,” said Khattar.