Noida, Greater Noida Protests: An Overview

Posted on August 3, 2011 in Specials

By Twesh Mishra:

Police forces struggled with locals at Bhatta Parsaul on May 7th 2011 in an attempt to displace farmers protesting the acquisition of their land. Since then, Noida and Greater Noida have been raised on a pedestal for media and political glare.

Acquisition of land by the government has been a controversial issue since independence. Opposition to this phenomenon was of such magnitudes that the government was forced to amend the constitution to eliminate the Right to Property.

With the scion of the Gandhi family making late night escapades and other prominent political faces centering their speeches on this issue, this portion of NCR has transmuted into the hub of protest meetings.

Police control room and Lord Buddha’s statue at Dadri Road, connecting Noida to Delhi is the generally accepted protest location in the city. Means of protest are limited to blocking the road and preventing any vehicular movement via this route.

Protests were organized rapidly post the Greater Noida land acquisition cancellation. 23rd July, marked the beginning of such unrest with potential flat owners of Noida extension remonstrating the cancellation of their flats.

This was followed by a protest march by the affected construction workers and builders headed by the Noida Extension Flat Builders Welfare Association (NEFBWA) demanding immediate resolution of this issue.

Farmer protests were stalled till 5th August and would have resumed if their demands of 5% stake in developed land and 50% of the market price of land as compensation were not met with. Uttar Pradesh centric political establishments perceived this as an opportunity to run down the BSP government and to gain relevant political mileage for the upcoming state elections, hence left no stone un-turned to further infuriate the affected masses against the administration.

A settlement on the issue between Noida authority and the farmers was reached on July 30th, resulting in the continuance of the development of residential accommodations. The settlement would regularize (not acquire and register in the name of farmers) all residential lands and entitle farmers to free OPD treatment, 10% reservation in educational institutions within the district and a special scheme to allot developed plots to farmers whose lands were acquired between 1976 and 1997.

What ensued post this volcanic affair is a new acquisition policy of our country. The Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 would be tabled in the monsoon session of the parliament and would define stringent policies for acquiring farm land.

The new bill hoping to placate the vote banks has clauses such as the setting up of a regulatory authority at both center and state level which would ensure proper resettlement to the masses being displaced and speedier resolution to conflicts arising due to land procurement.

The conflicts arising in Noida will have major implications in the years to come. References to this case will be made whenever the government would attempt to procure land for socio-economic purposes.

If such protests and their politicization ensue, they will stun the infrastructural growth of our country and India may be reverted to the land of snake charmers and street dwellers.