Radiating out from Delhi into the National Capital Region are two expressways. The one in the east runs 22 km through Noida and Greater Noida. The other in the south stretches for 18 km between Dwarka and Kherki Daula. On either side of both these expressways are vast expanses that have been opened up for development by realtors.
While the southern dream has been soured by the inability of the authorities to provide basic amenities like water and sewage in the proposed residential zones, the eastern hub enjoys excellent infra structure, but completion of housing projects there has been hampered by unforeseen reasons.
Along the Noida Expressway that links the capital to Greater Noida — and from there via Yamuna Expressway to Agra — the authorities acquired huge tracts from farmers and auctioned them to realty companies after putting into place reliable water, sewage, electricity and road systems. The delays in implementing the housing projects there are, therefore, clearly due to the failure of realtors to raise finances as well as legal and other hurdles.
The Unitech project called Grande was launched in 2007 across 350 acres. After eight years, it is yet to be completed.Launched at a premium pricing of Rs 7,000 per sq ft, the houses were to be built around an 18-hole golf course. But paucity of funds has slowed down the construction. As for the golf course, all that Unitech has come up with is a sorrier 9-hole course.
While funds are a problem for real estate companies, they are ironically unable to collect more money because the incomplete projects have led to a fall in prices. At Jaypee's 800-acre Wish Town, for instance, where construction started in 2008, prices have remained stagnant in the Rs 4,000-10,000 range.
Jaypee launched around 35,000 housing units along with a hospital, school and two golf courses -one 18-hole and the other a 9-hole one. The golf courses are ready and the group has started giving possession. A company spokesperson claimed by February 2016, around 5,400 buyers will get possession and by December, another 7,000 apartments will be handed over. He said the Wish Town project will be completed by 2018.
Similarly, the projects undertaken by 3C such as Boulevard, Panache and Zing are running behind schedule, as are many others initiated by other companies. The builder claimed that one of the biggest factors for the delay was the agitation for higher compensation by farmers whose land had been acquired. As Anil Sharma, CMD of Amrapali, pointed out, a number of his company's projects on the Noida Expressway was affected by protesting farmers who descended on the roads several times between 2011 and 2014. The air of uncertainty caused by these protests kept potential buyers away.
There was also the October 2013 judgment of the National Green Tribunal banning construction within a 10-km radius of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. While the ban was finally lifted in August 2015, the interregnum saw no possibility of the completion certificates being awarded and, therefore, no possession being given by the builders despite the construction of thousands of apartments being completed.
Besides the delays, the poor buyer response has deflated the potential boom along the expressway . However, in all honesty, the buyers were only being wary about the generally poor quality of construction, except a few like JP and ATS, in the area.While this led to the flight of high networth individuals, the builders argue that they were forced to cut corners be cause the interminable delays were affecting their bottom lines. A builder explained that during the period when little work could be done, the prices of cement and steel went up, reducing their margins.
The Expressway set back is a ruinous blend of causes and effects.
The missed deadlines have scared away potential homebuyers, leaving constructors with depleted budgets and little money to complete their projects, further delaying the transfer of ownership to buyers. The vicious circle is yet to come to a halt.