Next door in Ghaziabad, farmers strike direct deals with builders

Kadir Husain sits on a charpoy in Shahberi. After a brief while, he turns around, looks at the row of apartment building behind him and says, "rules are different on the other side".

Husain is talking about Dundahera village in Ghaziabad, which too has witnessed a real estate boom in the recent years. Other than the drain that separates these two UP villages, the terms on land acquisition also place them on different maps of development.

Dundahera's rise began four ago, when seven builders came to envision the Crossings Republik, a project that would span 360 acres. The project's website describes the builders as '7 forces' and the project 'India's first global city'.

Shahberi, meanwhile, hit the headlines as the Supreme Court upheld Allahabad High Court's verdict quashing state acquisition of farm land under the 'urgency clause'. The court ruling brought cheer for Shahberi residents and gloom for investors.

The residents of both villages, however, feel that grass in greener on the other side.

"The Noida Authority takes care of them. They have better roads, drains and the place is clean, unlike ours. That also means that land should be more expensive across the nallah," says Haridwari Lal Tyagi, who lives in Dundahera.

Vice-Chairman of the Ghaziabad Development Authority, Narendra Kumar Chaudhary, said the companies were given a licence to directly negotiate with the farmers. "As per the agreement, 60 per cent of the land could be acquired by the companies. If they require the other 40 per cent, we will facilitate its acquisition," he says.

In 2006-07, builders began negotiating with the farmers of Dundahera. "Representatives of a company would come with a property dealer from the area. They began with an offer of Rs 4 lakh per bigha," says Dayanand Tyagi, sitting on a charpoy inside his garage that has two cars and a tractor parked inside.

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