Noida realty: Down, but not out
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In the five years that Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati was in power, it seemed that Noida and its adjoining areas were to be made the showpiece of the state. Greater Noida was co-developed as a residential satellite city, an international airport was proposed at Jhewar, and the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal, a grand 685 crore monument-complete with 52 statues was built to commemorate the Dalit cause. The result of this concentration of development in the region made Noida the place to go for builder, investors and flat buyers alike, and saw a sharp rise in the real estate prices over the five years.
The change in guard in March however, has seen a change in outlook from the state government. The Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party government has scrapped several of Mayawati's pet projects, with the official versions being that, the projects were far too large in scale. "These large projects, including certain social programmes are far too costly and target a small audience. The emphasis of this government is to bring more people into the development fold. It has been estimated by us that the amount of money saved by scrapping several projects and schemes set up by the BSP government is close to Rs 4,861.72 crore," said an official.
The scrapping of these projects, some of which have affected Noida as well, has resulted in a change in the real estate market as well. Take for instance, the land acquisition problem in Greater Noida. Culminating in the violent clash between farmers and the administration at the twin villages of Bhatta Parsaul in May 2010, farmers alleged that their land was taken away under the "urgency clause", and given to developers at much higher rates.
They said that at the time when the government took away their land, the farmers were assured that industries would come up around their villages. Farmers then went to the Allahabad High Court in protest. In an October 2011 judgement, the Court rescinded the land acquisition of three villages, and asked the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities to increase the compensation given to farmers by 64 per cent in the other 61 villages that went to court.
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