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Posted: November 21, 2007

Land acquisition kicks off Indian Nano City project

(Nanowerk News) Finally air has begun to clear for the famed Nano City project of Hotmail man Sabeer Bhatia as his company begins land acquisition for the project. Though inquiries in Raipur Rani revealed that the prices offered to the farmers are way below market prices, the company officials assert that farmers are cooperating so far.
As of now, the company is offering anything between 16 and 20 lakh an acre though the farmers demanded Rs 35-40 lakh an acre. Notably, about 23 villages will fall under the purview of the proposed Nano City project that is to come up across 11,000 acres in Raipur Rani. The company plans to acquire about 5,000 acres in the first phase.
The project had been announced by Bhatia in 2006 and was believed to have great employment potential with its goal to attract world-class Companies involved in the creation of intellectual property. The idea was to attract Companies operating in areas such as software development, nanosciences, next generation drug discovery, biotechnology, energy research and semiconductor research. While all the approvals were in place by September, there was a huge delay in the land acquisition process. Its only after much hiccups including high prices of real estate in the area, that the process has finally taken off.
Naval Bhatia, director Nano City Developers Ltd affirmed to FE that the company had started acquiring land. He, however, refused to divulge any details as to where and how much land has been acquired till now. "We are offering a price of about Rs 16-20 lakh an acre to the farmers. However, the prices will be high for the land adjoining the highway," said he.
Meanwhile, farmers contend that if DLF could pick up land for as high as Rs 60-83 lakh per acre across village Khanesra and village Kot, which are located just a few kilometers ahead of Raipur Rani, they should also get competitive remuneration for their land. In some cases where the property is located in close proximity to the main highway, prices went up as high as 50 lakh an acre. On the other hand the company feels that if the prices go up then the project will not be viable enough.
It is also to be noted that for hundreds of farmers based out of the area, it has been an agonizing wait for over a year. "Neither can we invest in our land, nor are we getting the money easily from lenders who are skeptical that tomorrow we might sell our land and their money might be doomed. We are also worried about our future as we will have no source of if we sell off our land. Where will we keep our animals and what would we do?" said Harjinder Singh who owns 30 acres at village Batwal.
Interestingly, the current frenzy in the project has also caught the fancy of private financiers in the region who are buying land. Confirming this, a property dealer said, "Financiers are coming here and trying to buy land from farmers. However, they have quoted very low prices of about Rs 18-19 lakh an acre till now and only the farmers who are in dire need of money are selling their land to them"
Source: Indian Express
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