DELHI: The recent judgment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) prohibiting the Noida authority from giving completion certificates to projects within 10km radius of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary will affect around 20,000 buyers whose apartments have been completed and ready for delivery.
Rohit Raj Modi, the president of real estate developers’ body, Credai NCR, said that around 30,000 more apartments are nearing completion in the next one year, but that after the NGT judgment builders would go slow in completing those projects. The delay in securing the completion certificate from Noida authority–due to the NGT judgment–is causing hardship to buyers, Modi said.
Most of these projects were launched in Sectors 74, 75, 76, 122, and 137, among others. Twenty five projects, belonging to almost all large builders like Amrapali, Jaypee, Logix, Gulshan Homz, Antriksh, ATS, Paramount, Supertech, etc, and which fall within the 10km radius around the bird sanctuary, are affected due to the judgment. Interestingly, all the 25 projects have already got the environment clearance. Getamber Anand of ATS said that builders had no idea of any such problem in the region. Even worse for the builders is that now, as the projects have been completed but delivery has not been given, they will have to manage and maintain each and every apartment without charging any money from buyers.
Homebuyers, too, are up a gum tree as most of these projects were launched and sold around four years ago and they have been paying EMIs since then. Now, with this judgment, homebuyers cannot occupy their houses, even as they pay rents as tenants and shell out the EMIs at the same time.
Credai, during the hearing of the case, requested the NGT to allow the construction on projects, which are beyond 100 metres of the bird sanctuary, as proposed by the Uttar Pradesh government, subject to the builders getting environmental clearance. It also pleaded that if builders have not obtained environmental clearance, the tribunal could take an undertaking from them that such construction would not create any equity in their favour and that they are doing the construction at their own cost, risk and peril, and would not claim any right.
Credai said it was necessary to give this clarification in order to mitigate the developers’ hardship and to ensure that there is no multiplicity of proceedings, as allottees are threatening to take legal action. But, the NGT refused to give any relief.
Homebuyers are the worst sufferers. Since most of them are staying in rented houses even as they pay EMIs for their houses under construction, they will have to bear this double monetary burden even after their booked flats are ready for possession.
Getamber Anand, the CMD of ATS Group, says: “It is very disappointing to note that a huge stock of ready-to-possess flats in group-housing projects are lying vacant in the Noida region due to the ruling of the National Green Tribunal, which prohibits Noida authority from giving clearance certificates to developers for final possession of flats in their completed projects. This current situation has resulted in a huge loss for genuine homebuyers who were looking forward to early possessions, as they are already burdened with the home rents and regular EMIs.“
“It must be noted that the adjoining Delhi areas of Jamia Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Nehru Place, Kalkaji, Badarpur, etc, also lie within 10km radius of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. We are hopeful that the NGT will direct Noida authority to issue occupancy certificates to the projects which have the requisite MOEF clearances and also take a relook into the petition calling for a 10km-radius eco sensitive zone around the bird sanctuary,“ Anand said.
Rohit Raj Modi of Credai says: “The recent decision of the NGT has affected a lot of buyers, who were all ready to move into their new flats bought from hard-earned money. We have been raising the issue of delay in environment clearance with the states and the Centre for quite some time, but to no avail. When the state agency responsible for environmental clearance has given the go ahead at the project-approval stage, why has this issue been raised at the possession stage? If clearance at the initial stage was not as per law, statutory bodies must direct government agencies to work in closely coordination for effective implementation of those laws; otherwise, innocent buyers and developers will face hardship for no fault of theirs.“
Manoj Gaur, the president of Credai (Western UP), says: “We respect the concerns of the NGT, but we also have a duty towards consumers. Therefore, we request the honourable tribunal to kindly direct the Noida authority to issue provisional completion certificates to projects of our member developers who have applied for the same, so that possession may be given to consumers who have booked these apartments. At the same time, the member developers are willing to give an undertaking that they shall abide by the decision of the NGT whenever it is given.“
Rakesh Yadav, the MD of Antriksh Group, says: “After the complete ban on extraction of ground water, the NGT’s directive on the NOC is a very hard decision. We hope this is rolled back and NOCs for completed housing projects is granted. As per the guidelines of the Ground Water Authority of India, the first layer of ground water in this area is not potable. Most of the builders have already taken environment clearance for their projects, and we were under the impression that the permission from the Ground Water Authority of India for extracting or de-watering is more than sufficient.“
“Our project, Homes 121, is complete but we can only give possession to our customers when we get clearance from the NGT. It has been quite some time now and the approval has been pending. As a result, both customers and developers are suffering through the delay in possession,“ Ashok Gupta, the CMD of Ajnara India Ltd, said.
“We completed JM Orchid, a group-housing project, in February itself. But we have not received the clearance from the NGT. We are hopeful for an early resolution of the issue,“ Rupesh Gupta, the director of JM Housing, said.
What is the issue?
Traditionally, this area–Noida, Greater Noida, Yamuna City–fall between two rivers, Yamuna and Hindon, and the water table in this area is very high. But the National Green Tribunal banned construction work of realty projects within 10km radius of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary located in the Delhi-Noida border near Kalindi Kunj Barrage apprehending a danger to the ground water table. Keeping this in mind the tribunal directed the Noida authority to conduct a fresh survey and find out the projects falling within this zone.
The Noida authority identified more than 105 realty projects as falling within the 10km radius of the bird sanctuary, and now, all these projects are in trouble.
The earlier ban imposed by the tribunal on drawing groundwater for construction purposes has already affected 3,000 housing units in various sectors of Noida, with developers having to stall work on them.
Arjunpreet Singh Sahni, the executive director of Solitaire Group, says: “Sometimes, developers are also unaware of such guidelines. A single-window clearance system is the only solution to avoid such miss-outs on approvals. In fact there should be a ready checklist of all the necessary approvals required for a real estate project, which would bring about complete awareness of all the required sanctions at a single point.“
Housing projects ready for possession: Due to the NGT directive, the Noida authority is presently not in a position to issue the NOC (for possession), which has already been filed by developers and builders.
If we look at the realty scenario of Noida’s market, the residential real estate assets remain popular with investors and buyers, especially those properties which are mid-sized and priced reasonably, and offering locational advantage and good infrastructure.
While there is demand for affordable housing, premium properties too have attracted buyers in prime locations like Sectors 44, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 94, 119, 137, 143, 142, etc. These sectors offer great scope for strong and sustained growth for all real estate segments.
In spite of everything, developers, realtors, and property professionals are all upbeat about the future prospects of real estate in this emerging location. Here the rates are still in the range of Rs 4,500-5,000 per sq ft, depending on the size of the property and its location. Properties under construction as well as ready-to-move-in projects have various options, from affordable to mid-segment, and luxury residential projects with high technology and world-class facilities. Social and physical infrastructures like educational institutes, 5-star hotels, shopping malls, hospitals, and commercial hubs have turned the area into a premium location. The proposed flyovers, underpasses, Metro link and the operational DND Expressway along with wide city roads have also made travelling and living better in residential sectors of Noida Greater Noida Expressway. All these have encouraged people to move and live here.
The prime locations of Noida Expressway and other developing sectors are now ready to provide some newly constructed ready-to-move-in houses in different realty projects like JP Wish Town, Logix Blossom Greens, Logic Blossom County , Gulshan Homz’s Vivante, Antriksh Golf View, Antriksh Forest, Antriksh Canball, Paramount Group’s Golf Foreste, Grand Omaxe, Paras Olympia, Paras Tierea, Paras Seasons, Amrapali Group’s Amrapali Silicon City, Amrapali Sapphire, Amrapali Zodiac, Amrapali Platinum, Amrapali Silicon City , Assotech Ltd’s Celeste Towers, among a host of others. These projects promise world-class facilities with good social and commercial infrastructure. Many of these high-end luxury and affordable houses are almost complete and ready for possession.