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'Cheated' Noida villagers to protest F1 track land deal

Last updated on: October 07, 2011 12:38 IST

Residents of villages in the Greater Noida region of Uttar Pradesh have threatened to launch a protest over being inadequately compensated for losing land to the new Formula One circuit coming up in the area.

The race is scheduled to take place on October 30.

The residents are upset over the construction of the inaugural F1 track, claiming that they were misled into believing that the land was being acquired for industrialisation or public projects that would provide jobs.

However, Greater Noida authorities say the Buddh International Circuit is part of a multi-billion dollar project to develop a huge swathe of land.

"We are protesting against the F1 race because we do not see any benefit for the villages from this. The village had given its land for industries. The notice that was sent to the villages said their land was being acquired for industrialisation. But that land is passed on to builders who construct huge projects, construct racing tracks or make jails -- like they have built one in our village," one of the villagers, Yogesh Nagar, said.

Village elders say the loss of land coupled with the absence of any alternative employment could lead young people to crime.

"Our land is gone. What will we do? What will the village youth do now? They will get into criminal activities, commit robberies, begin stealing," said Dharamveer, an elder from Kasba Dhankaur.

Developers say the new complex will include a cricket stadium, golf courses, a hockey stadium and a tennis academy, along with residential apartments and offices.

Village schoolteacher Manoj Kumar is still not happy.

"Our land was bought for industrialisation but the state authorities cheated the villagers and they are now constructing flats and sports arenas on that land which is of no benefit to the villagers. If they had created some commercial structures then we could have got employment and even offered our houses for rentals and that would have meant overall prosperity for us villagers," said Kumar.

He also said the track had severed village links to the main roads, making commuting harder.

Representatives of the new circuit said they had no direct dealing with the villagers as the F1 organisers had bought the land from the Uttar state authorities.

Some people, however, have welcomed the development for pushing up land prices and producing new opportunities.

"I think our country is progressing and this is a symbol of that progress. India is holding a race for the first time and this is a sign of development which is good," said Sunil Nagar, a local real estate agent whose earnings have soared.

Source: ANI