Almost 20,000 home buyers in Noida face a delay in receiving possession of their completed apartments. This is due to a recent judgment by National Green Tribunal, which prohibits Noida Authority from giving any completion certificate for projects within a 10 km radius of Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
Another 30,000 apartments in the area are nearing completion over the next year.
But, due to the judgment, builders are now going slow on their projects.
The delay in securing the completion certificate is causing hardhip to buyers. Most of these projects were launched in Sector 74, 75, 76, 122 and 137 among others. They include projects of major builders like Amrapali, Jaypee, Logix, Gulshan Homz, Antriksh, ATS, Paramount and Supertech.
In all, 25 projects are affected by the judgment.
Interestingly, all 25 projects have already got environmental clearance. Most buyers want to take possession during May-June, when they can change the school of their children.
To make matters worse for builders, they will have to maintain all the apartments without charging any money from the buyers. As most of these projects were launched and sold around four years ago, most of the buyers have been paying EMI since then.
On October 28, 2013, NGT had directed Noida Authority to stop all construction within 10km radius of Okhla Bird Sanctuary. It further asked the Government of India to fix norms for such situations.
The Centre, in turn, asked the respective state governments to fix the norms for their wildlife sanctuaries depending on their fragility and other issues. On February 25, the UP government recommended that the no-development zone be fixed at 100 meters. In March, Delhi made a similar suggestion.
However, NGT has now reiterated its earlier order. During the hearing, CREDAI had requested NGT that projects beyond 100m––as proposed by the UP government––may be allowed to carry out construction subject to their getting environmental clearance on an undertaking that they are doing the construction at their own cost and risk, and would not claim any right.
CREDA said such a clarification had become necessary to mitigate developers’ hardship and ensure that there is no multiplicity of proceedings as allottees are threatening to take legal action. But NGT declined any relief.
The blanket ban on development in a radius of 10km around the bird sanctuary is problematic.
Given the location of this particular sanctuary, it is unrealistic to demand that no construction should happen within such a radius.
More importantly, it is really unfair to retrospectively apply such a ban on projects already in the pipeline before the ban was imposed.
That amounts to penalizing builders and individual investors for no fault of theirs. If the authorities or courts, in their wisdom, felt such a `sanitized zone’ was really necessary, clearances should not have been granted for these projects in the first place.
Having given clearances, it is grossly unjust to pull the plug after investors have sunk serious money, in many cases their life savings, into these projects.