Relief to home buyers in Noida

As many as 50 residential projects involving about 55,000 home buyers got a relief on Tuesday with the Centre approving the reduction in eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla bird sanctuary.

The Union environment ministry's draft notification, issued last year, was cleared by the government on Tuesday. The notification said the eco-sensitive zone will be considered up to 100 metres from the eastern, western and southern boundary and up to 1.27 km from the northern boundary of the Okhla bird sanctuary.

Many projects in Noida were stuck after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in October 2013 ordered halt in construction around a radius of 10 km from the Okhla bird sanctuary. The NGT also restrained authorities from giving completion certificates within the eco-sensitive zone till the time clearance from the National Board for Wildlife was obtained. The NGT had also directed the Centre to demarcate the eco-sensitive zone around the sanctuary after considering fresh proposals from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana.

The draft prohibits all forms of construction activities, commercial establishment of hotels and resorts, all new and existing mining (minor and major minerals), stone quarrying and crushing units except for the domestic needs of 'bona fide' residents.

The environment ministry will come out with a final notification on eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla bird sanctuary within a week, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said.

"It is a big relief for people who had booked (flats). Many people were already been paying EMI (equated monthly instalments). The hard-earned money of people was invested there. They will get relief. The confusion has been ended. The final notification will be done in a week. The orders of the NGT have been fully followed."

Once the notification is issued, the government will allow home buyers outside the ESZ to get occupancy certificates of their flats, which had been pending since the NGT order in October 2013. The sanctuary is at the Okhla barrage over Yamuna River and is situated in Noida Gautam Buddh Nagar district on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border.

Leading developers hailed the development as positive and said this would bring back the housing demand in the Noida-Greater Noida region.

"It's good news for 55,000 buyers whose homes were ready but they could not occupy it," said Credai president Getamber Anand. As many as 100,000 homes are currently being developed in this region and this will send a positive signal to Noida-Greater Noida property market and boost housing demand, he said.

Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director of CBRE South Asia, said, "This will have a positive impact on the real estate and construction sector in the NCR (national capital region). All projects that had been stalled in the Noida market can now resume construction activity. The location will also see more housing sales along with office occupier and retail space leasing in forthcoming months. This will also lead to a pick-up in the demand home buyer demand will pick up as well."

Jaypee Green, DLF, ATS, 3C Developers and Supertech were among the developers whose projects got affected due to the NGT order.

DLF group executive director Rajeev Talwar said: "An extremely positive step taken by the government. A little delayed but will provide huge relief to home buyers whose flats were ready more than a year back but were unable to occupy them. For DLF, it means opening up the Mall of India, which is being developed in Noida."

In a similar development, NGT on Tuesday directed the environment ministry to issue within three weeks the final notification on the eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla bird sanctuary. The order came on the plea of Supreme Court lawyers' housing society, which had moved the tribunal seeking direction to the Noida authority for issuance of completion certificate for its 684-flat complex.

  • October 2013: NGT orders Noida Authority to stop issuing final certificates to commercial/residential projects within 10 km of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary;

    Orders the environment ministry to demarcate eco-sensitive zone around sanctuary after consulting Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana governments.

  • July 2014: Ministry requests Uttar Pradesh to submit a fresh proposal

  • August 2015: The ministry announces new eco-sensitive zone

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