With purchase of agricultural land, <g data-gr-id="90">introduction</g> of latest farming equipment, <g data-gr-id="91">establishment</g> of dairy farms and other cottage industries, the move has led to overall growth in this part of the state. The growing trend of investments has not only given a boost to the infrastructure of the area but has also resulted in <g data-gr-id="89">manifold</g> increase in property rates. Additionally, the presence of people with disposable cash has also created new social equations and improvement in standards of living.
Owing to massive urbanisation in the entire Gautam Buddh Nagar district, which comprises all the three regions – Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway, it is estimated that an additional population of over Rs 40 lakh would become dependent on this region. The area is said to be planned in such a way that it will be counted among the well-planned urban hub, not only in India but in the whole of Asia.
The other aspect of this growth cycle is that thousands of farmers, who have sold their property to the local authorities for real estate projects, have purchased more property compared to what they have sold. This move has not only saved them from becoming landless farmers but <g data-gr-id="85">have</g> also helped them amass more assets.
The property rates in neighbouring Bulandshar, Mathura, Hathras, Aligarh, Agra, Hapur and Baghpat have registered a five-fold increase as <g data-gr-id="105">cost</g> of one bigha of land has jumped from Rs one lakh to five lakh. Property rates in other areas like Shahranpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Garh, Amroha, <g data-gr-id="112">Bareilley</g>, Moradabad, etc., too, have gone up. Earlier, farm lands in these areas were selling at Rs one lakh per bigha. Now rates have crossed the three-lakh mark. Similarly, rates of residential properties have also gone up several times as <g data-gr-id="103">majority</g> of farmers have partially shifted their base and have started business activities.
“Area along the Expressway has witnessed a sharp growth as farmers are showing more interest there. Properties along with the high-speed corridor of all districts have been sold and re-sold several times, and now purchase and sale activities are taking place in remote parts too. A farmer, who gets over Rs 20 lakh for one bigha in Gautam Buddh Nagar, purchases three to four bigha in the neighbouring districts. With the huge compensation money, farmers have made their life lavish and secure as they have raised buildings in Noida and Greater Noida, purchased vehicles, and have invested in property as well. A few of them have started <g data-gr-id="104">dairy</g> business, mango farming, and other activities,” said Dushyant <g data-gr-id="114">Naagar</g>, a farmers’ rights activist and convenor of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS).
The leader said that the idea of investing in property came after Allahabad High Court’s verdict on Patwari and Shahberi villages. The village land, which was sold earlier was ordered to be returned to their original owners. As construction activities had begun, there was no possibility for agriculture. The land owners in this area, who were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood since ages, decided to make a shift. After several public meetings - popularly known as “maha-panchayats” - it was decided to purchase land, which is the key source of income, and continue their activities.
Tactfully, the farmers opted for <g data-gr-id="108">area</g> along Yamuna Expressway first because of greater opportunities. The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), which ensures development of the belt, has been developing the area and many projects have been announced so far. Apart from this, agricultural land is also being developed for the sake of farmers. “The decision to move along <g data-gr-id="106">Yamuna</g> was taken considering the ongoing development works. Now the situation is that scores of farmers have purchased hundreds of bigha of land in five districts through which the Expressway passes. Following the move, property rates have increased sharply,” said Teekam Singh Yadav, a farmer who had moved the court against land acquisition in Patwari and Shahberi villages.
The farmer added that after witnessing saturation in this particular region, many of the land owners have shifted their interests to remote districts. “With <g data-gr-id="109">availability</g> of land at cheap rates in Shahranpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Garh, Amroha, Bareilly, Moradabad, etc, deals are being fixed here. The good thing is that farmers have started several business activities. Some have established
dairies, some are running brick kilns, some are involved in making jaggery from sugar cane”, said Yadav.
The people living in these areas are also happy with this change as they accept it without any hue and cry. With establishment of more means of income, they have got jobs near their houses, adequate amount for selling land, etc. “Western UP’s economy rests on the three pillars of steel, sugar, and cloth. The steel and sugar mills have suffered in the past few years, the riots in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar have hit the business hard. Saharanpur is the region’s biggest cloth market but doesn’t manufacture a single metre of cloth now. Many youths involved in these business activities became jobless after the riots. Later they engaged in mango farming and other small business ventures. With shifting of big farmers from NCR region, they have been employed for now. Even demand of casual labourers <g data-gr-id="94">have</g> gone high. When farmers are in panic due to <g data-gr-id="96">retardation</g> in sugar cane farming and improper monsoon, dairy and other small businesses had supported a lot,” said Dharmendra Malik, an office bearer of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU).
The another aspect is that the Gujjar, which are in <g data-gr-id="93">majority</g> in Gautam Buddh Nagar and had in past preferred to live along rivers, have gone against their tradition. A large number of men and women from this community have tied the nuptial knot in other regions too. The families have been sharing platforms to come together which is a rare equation in Western UP districts. “Earlier Gujjars were marrying their children within 27 villages of one pocket, which they considered out of their “gotra” but similar to their culture but now they are preferring to go into other families. This move has brought people close,” said <g data-gr-id="100">Ramveer</g> Singh, a former Village head of Saddullapur village of Greater NOIDA.
The authorities, too, claim <g data-gr-id="121">that beside</g> the development in NCR districts, neighbouring districts have benefited. “After the recent legal developments, there is <g data-gr-id="120">positive</g> impact on farmers of Noida, Greater Noida (West) and along the Yamuna. The Supreme Court has taken care of all stakeholders such as farmers, middle-class home buyers, and the financial institutions. All uncertainties have been cleared now, farmers have been given additional 64.7 per cent compensation, 10 per cent of <g data-gr-id="119">developed</g> land, and projects are moving faster. Despite various hurdles and issues, the authorities have always concentrated on farmers’ plight and have ensured that they would not suffer further.
The authorities have started giving additional compensation and developed land for the eligible farmers as per the Supreme Court’s verdict. All these developments have brought cheer not only to home buyers but to farmers also”, claims the senior officials who are looking after land allotment, building, and construction activities.
The real estate body also claims that in the coming years, this will further see a multiple effect on UP-NCR and <g data-gr-id="116">its</g> neighbouring districts as this area is set to witness some great infrastructure boom like metro, multi-level transport system, and other connectivity corridors in the near future. The future of the area is bright in terms of price appreciation and connectivity. These will be a few future cities where everything will be well-planned. And the farmers have paved the way for this.