NOIDA: The hundreds of crores homebuyers have invested in Noida are safe. The Centre's draft of the redrawn eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla bird sanctuary doesn't affect any realty project in the area, a highly placed official in the UP government said on Sunday.
The draft proposes a no-construction zone extending 1.27km from the sanctuary towards the DND flyway in the north but just 100 metres to its east, west and south. This is broadly what Uttar Pradesh had proposed. The process of notification, including objections being invited to the plan, will be completed in the next three months, the official said.
The area to the north of the sanctuary that has the largest swathe of the new eco-sensitive zone is "a rich natural habitat and covers the Yamuna banks and green areas", the official said.
This spells huge relief for thousands of homebuyers who were thrown into uncertainty after the National Green Tribunal marked a 10km radius around the bird park as a restricted zone. As a result, occupation certificates of around 30,000 flats that were ready could not be granted while work in other projects slowed down.
"We expect the final touches to the draft notification this week. Over the next 60 days, objections will be invited and heard. In the draft notification, no realty project comes within the ambit of the bird sanctuary's eco-sensitive zone," the official said.
This was confirmed by other senior officials in Noida administration. "By the end of this year, homebuyers sho8uld be in a position to register their flats," the official added. A copy of the notification will also be submitted to the NGT. The official also said the notification has been drafted keeping in mind guidelines of the Supreme Court and the interests of all stakeholders.
The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had on March 15, 2011 directed states to declare eco-sensitive zones around national parks and wildlife or bird sanctuaries. Some states did. But others, UP among them, didn't. In July last year, Amit Kumar, an environmentalist, filed a petition in the NGT demanding that construction around the bird sanctuary be stopped to protect the habitat. In the absence of a formal notification of a restricted zone by UP, the NGT subsequently passed the order marking a 10km radius around the park.
Reacting to the draft notification, Gaurav Bansal, counsel for Kumar, said it was an attempt to kill the bird habitat. "We will challenge the notification in the Supreme Court. It is an attempt to shield the realty projects," he said.
Meanwhile, the realty industry expressed relief. Getamber Anand, president (elect), CREDAI, said, "The notification has taken care of all sections. We expect the rest of the process to be completed soon so that thousands of buyers can register their properties," Anand said.