NEW DELHI: More than 30,000 apartment buyers in Noida could finally get possession of their homes, with the ministry of environment and forests set to consider all comments on its draft notification on the ecosensitive zone around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary at a meeting it is planning on January 30. The ministry, which had put out a draft notification on the matter on September 24 and had invited comments till November 24, has already had one round of meetings and in the next one all comments will be considered, said a senior ministry official.
"After this meeting, an expert committee on eco-sensitive zones will consider the relevant comments post which a notification should be out," the official said, adding, "Of course, it has to be cleared by the law ministry as well."
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had forbidden the Noida Authority from giving completion certificates to the projects that fall within a 10-kilometre radius of the Okhla bird sanctuary near Noida over a year ago. It was decided last year to redesignate the eco-sensitive zone around the sanctuary, bringing it down to 100 metres on three sides where several real estate projects were impacted. A notification will finally allow Noida Authority to start giving completion certificates to builders, who will then begin the process of handing over apartments to buyers.
At the moment, though, both homebuyers and builders are unclear when the final notification will arrive. The long delay has cost over Rs 2,000 crore to buyers and builders as most homebuyers have been shelling out EMIs even as they await possession and builders have had to hold sold inventory and keep paying interest on their borrowings.
Amrapali Developers, which has over 5,000 apartments ready in Noida, has been unable to hand over these apartments because of the NGT order. "We are clueless at the moment," said Shiv Priya, executive director at Amrapali group. RK Arora, MD of Supertech, which has about 2,000 apartments ready and undelivered, said the company gets queries from buyers every day.
"We tell them, 'wait another week', but we don't have clarity ourselves," said Arora. Apart from the apartments that are ready, builders, who did not want to be named, said there are many more that are close to completion but many of them have had to put brakes on construction in light of the NGT order. "We are hoping that the ministry sorts this out as soon as possible as it is giving out a negative signal to both homebuyers and industry, especially when the government is talking about housing for all by 2022," said Getamber Anand, managing director of ATS Infrastructure.