NOIDA: If the long wait for environmental clearance for their flats wasn't bad enough, nearly 30,000 homebuyers in Noida now face significant cost escalations when they register these properties.
The Uttar Pradesh stamps and registration department has said it will collect stamp duty for registry of flats at prevailing rates after the Centre notifies the eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
S K Singh, the department's assistant inspector general, said old rates would not be applicable for properties ready in 2013 but not registered due to the ban on occupation certificates till the eco-sensitive zone around the bird sanctuary, in whose ambit these projects came, was redrawn. "Even those properties that were ready for registry in 2013 will have to be registered in accordance with the fresh circle rates," Singh told TOI on Thursday.
Homebuyers said this move would put an additional burden of Rs 200 crore on them. For example, the circle rate in Noida's new sectors was Rs 35,000 per square metre till July 2014. It was hiked to Rs 40,000 per sqm in August last year. If the new eco-sensitive zone is not notified before August this year, buyers will have to shell out more as the revised circle rate is likely to become Rs 48,000 per sqm.
"This is unjustified. Homebuyers are forced to pay monthly rent as well as EMIs for home loan, and now the revised circle rates will put an additional financial burden," said Indrish Gupta, co-founder of Noida Extension Flat Owners' Association.
An environmentalist, Amit Kumar, had on July 8, 2013, filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT), demanding that construction work around the bird sanctuary be stopped to protect wildlife as UP did not follow the Centre's directive on defining the eco-sensitive zone.
The NGT had initially halted construction work in the area but later allowed it within a 10km radius of the Okhla bird sanctuary on the condition that a 'no objection' certificate was obtained by builders from the National Board for Wildlife.
Uttar Pradesh has since sent its recommendation to the Centre and a draft eco-sensitive zone has been drawn up — 1.27km to the north of the bird sanctuary and 100 metres to the east, west and south.
The state government has until February-end to file affidavits to the NGT to request any final modifications to the draft order — mostly technical matters such as type of LED lights that can be used within the eco-zone — after which it has to send the order to the Union environment ministry. The ministry then has to clear the proposal and forward it to the law ministry for ratification.