5,000 home buyers in a fix
The fate of thousands of people, who have invested in real estate projects in Manesar, hangs in the balance after CBI’s filing of a charge sheet against former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 33 others in connection with an alleged land acquisition scam that caused farmers a loss of Rs 1,500 crore.
According to the chargesheet, the Hooda government in 2004 issued a notification to acquire 912 acres of land to set up an Industrial Model Township at Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula.
However, before the acquisition could begin, some developers — including AWB, Karma, Unitech, RP Estate and Innovative — bought 400 acres of land worth Rs 1,600 crore for just Rs 100 crore from farmers who were led to believe it would otherwise be acquired by the state government at meagre rates.
These developers got licence from the department of town and country planning in 2008-09 and launched several residential and commercial projects.
Some 5,000 people invested their life savings in these real estate projects with a hope to reap the benefits of the real estate boom.
The biggest project is ABW’s Aditya Niketan which is spread over 104 acres and in which nearly 2,000 people have booked housing units.
However, of the 400 acres, construction has started only on around 33 acres by ABW. Work has not started on other projects.
But investors say the controversy has turned their dreams into a nightmare.
“The government should take over these projects to secure the investment of the homebuyers,” said Naresh Jindal, a member of Aditya Niketan Buyers’ Association.
Naresh Jindal said around 2,000 people invested in the project which was launched over 104 acres of land in 2009, but in 2011, farmers filed a case against the developer before the Punjab and Haryana high court for forcefully acquiring their land.
In 2015, the CBI filed a case in an alleged land scam involving 400 acres, including the 104 acres of ABW Aditya Niketan.
“We had invested in the project because the government has given licenses. People were not aware about the land deal at that time,” said Jindal, adding, “Along with farmers, the government should also consider the plight of homebuyers.”