Developers misusing Green FAR?
Monitoring projects is a challenge as green rules are open to exploitation
Several Indian states may have taken steps to promote sustainable living but the question remains whether green rules are being implemented in the right spirit or are being exploited by builders who are using additional floor space to build extra towers, floors and schools.
According to Rohit Raj Modi, director Ashiana Homes, some states grant green FAR in principle, after which adequate audits from green rating agencies confirm that the builder has carried out construction as per green norms. Additional FAR is granted only after that. Since the developer gets to utilise the benefit only after construction of a project, any changes made in the plan or design is a clear infringement of the rights of the buyers, say legal experts.
Section 5 of the UP Apartment (Promotion and Construction, Ownership and Maintenance Act, 2010) clearly l ays down that a person by virtue of an allotment has an undivided right over the entire plot of land. Since FAR is calculated in relation to the plot of land, the court has ruled that the FAR is directly related to the patch of land and hence the buyer’s consent for any changes made is imperative, says S K Pal, a Supreme Court advocate.
Green FAR is one of the many “promotional” activit i es under t aken by t he authority. A builder usually gets this FAR in lieu of land given for metro construction, if he constructs a green building or for EWS housing. Builders cannot get 5% green FAR at the onset as it is difficult to ascertain if the building is actually green before it is constructed. The builder has to get the project audited and get a certification to that effect.
Misuse is rampant. In one case, a developer wanted to construct some villas on the 5% extra green FAR given to him, but when the matter went to high court, he got a stay on the basis of the Apartment Act 2010. He was later made to give an undertaking that he will not construct the villas.
Some buyers who moved into a “green” project in Noida claimed that the layout of the plan was changed to accommodate the addit i o n a l g r e e n FAR . T h e size of the club area was reduced to accommodate a school building that shared the same entrance with the apartment complex. Also, many of the green features promised by the builder in his brochure such as lights in the complex getting switched off automatically when not in use to save energy etc had not been given to buyers post construction.