‘Pay now or your plot is cancelled’
HSIIDC asks buyers in Manesar to pay twice the original cost of the plot to compensate farmers
In 2001, when Heera Gupta (name changed) was allotted a 450 sq m plot in Manesar by Haryana State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd ( HSIIDC), it cost him ₹ 8 lakh. After 13 years, the Corporation has raised an additional demand of ₹ 16 lakh, saying that if he fails to pay up, his allotment will be cancelled.
Gupta is not the only one faced with this situation. There are more than 540 plot owners against whom similar demands have been raised by the HSIIDC. Besides, there are 50 group housing projects too whose flat owners share the financial burden ranging from ₹ 4 lakh to ₹ 10 lakh. The reason behind this additional demand is a 15- year- long litigation between farmers and HSIIDC in which the Supreme Court in 2012 decided in favour of the farmers.
The dispute between farmers and HSIIDC started in 1994 when HSIIDC acquired 1749 acres of land between 1994 and 1997 from farmers at a cost of ₹ 4.13 lakh per acre. From 1999 onwards, HSIIDC allotted this land to plot owners, cooperative group housing societies, industries and institutions at different rates. Meanwhile, the f ar mers approached the Gurgaon district court demanding ₹ 20 lakh for one acre. The issues were finally settled by the Supreme Court which upheld the farmers’ demand and asked HSIIDC in 2012 to pay ₹ 20 lakh for an acre instead of ₹ 4.13 lakh per acre.
The increased compensation increased HSIIDC’s burden by ₹ 1,524.5 crore which it decided to raise from its allottees. “We are not against enhanced compensation to the farmers but the way HSIIDC has arrived at an amount that has to be recovered from the plot owners, flat buyers and
industrialists, is highly unjustified,” says Gupta.
According to HSIIDC, each allottee has to pay ₹ 3,352 per sq m as an additional charge but as per our calculation each allottee should not pay more than ₹ 1,060, he says.
HSIIDC asked the allottees to pay their dues in five equal installments. Aggrieved by this decision, the allottees took the matter to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court directed the allottees to pay the first installment.
“Now the court has asked us to pay the second, third and fourth installments also saying that if the decision goes in favour of allottees, the HSIIDC will return the money with 18% interest. But it’s getting difficult to raise so much money because a buyer owning a 450 sq m plot will have to pay ₹ 16 lakh which is a huge amount,” says an allottee.
“Our demand is that when the allotment rate was different for different land use, how can the enhanced amount ie, ₹ 3,352 per sq m be the same for everyone? Also, HSIIDC has taken into account multiple interest rates and added some rates on their own from 1994 to 2012 which is unjust,” says Jasminder Singh, secretary, IMT industrial Association.
Adds Singh, “In the first hearing on December 4, 2012, the court took up our matter and gave a patient hearing to the allottees. In fact, on October 30, 2013, it directed HSIIDC to hear our grievance and address it too. Due to several reasons, the matter has been adjourned for many months now and HSIIDC is threatening to cancel the allotment if we don’t pay.”