100 Kant Enclave buyers turn down compensation, seek to retain land titles
Close to 100 homeowners and plot buyers with holdings in the erstwhile Kant Enclave have filed affidavits in the Supreme Court rejecting monetary compensation in lieu of their properties being...
Close to 100 homeowners and plot buyers with holdings in the erstwhile Kant Enclave have filed affidavits in the Supreme Court rejecting monetary compensation in lieu of their properties being declared illegal. Several of them who spoke with Hindustan Times said that they were not satisfied with the compensation terms set by the apex court, and said they would attempt to retain titles of the land, which they maintained had been rightfully purchased.
In September 2018, the apex court had ruled that Kant Enclave, a residential society in Faridabad’s Surajkund area, was built illegally on Aravalli forest land, in violation of the Forest Conservation Act (1980). It ordered the demolition of structures and the restoration of the surrounding Aravalli habitat. It also ordered that the plot owners be repaid their respective investments along with 18% interest by the developer, R Kant & Co.
As payouts to buyers, whom the SC said had been “led up the garden path”, the Haryana TCP department and builder were together told to distribute ₹16.50 crore among those who had spent money raising residential structures in their plots. Of the 21 plot holders eligible, just one has so far not been compensated. This is as per a Central Empowered Committee (CEC) report (dated November 27, 2019).
As for the repayment of the investment amount, buyers who spoke with HT said they had not been approached for a settlement by the developer. “Even if they do come forward, most of us do not plan on taking the money,” Rajiv Tandon, one of Kant’s early buyers, said. “The investment we made, along with interests, comes to about ₹4,000 per square yard, whereas circle rates for the nearest developed properties are about ₹20,000 to ₹25,000 per square yard,” Tandon added, saying that the SC’s terms did little to assuage their financial loss.
In their response to the CEC’s report, submitted before the SC on January 8, residents said, “It is submitted that most plot owners are not interested in accepting compensation in lieu of their plots and intend to continue ownership of the plots.” The response goes on to state that the “Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, imposes restrictions on the land. There is no provision for taking away the title of the land from the landowner.”
“Even if we cannot construct anything there, we should be allowed to retain ownership of the land. That way, when Haryana’s proposed amendments to the Punjab Land Preservation Act are implemented, we will be able to recoup our losses,” another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said. Yet another buyer, who also wished to remain anonymous, said, “A lot of us bought our plots with a substantial cash component, which is not eligible to be repaid. Even with added interest, the final amount is not nearly enough to buy an equivalent asset.”
The CEC report had also recommended that the chief secretary, Haryana, be roped in to expedite the settlement of the investment amount. The matter is yet to be heard as the bench overseeing it is to be reconstituted under the aegis of the new Chief Justice of India.
Representatives of the developer either declined to comment or could not be contacted despite multiple attempts on Monday. A senior official from the Faridabad town and country planning department, seeking anonymity, said, “It would not be appropriate for us to comment as the matter is between the buyers and the court. On our part, the town and country planning department has ensured compliance with the SC’s order from 2018.”