No way out for homebuyers in NCR after NGT 2013 order
While construction has been restricted in Noida Extension due to the latest National Green Tribunal order, another order in 2013 affected many projects in the eco-sensitive zone
ANational Green Tribunal (NGT) order in 2013 and yet another one recently have collectively had a greater negative impact on homebuyers in the National Capital Region ( NCR) than on the developer community. While home buyers were caught unawares and continue to remain jittery with the resultant delay in possessing their homes, these two NGT orders reveal the apathy authorities and developers have towards buyers.
In one case, several builders having projects adjacent to the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary have not been able to hand over possession of homes for the last year-and-a-half due to the October 2013 order of NGT, which stopped Noida Authority from giving completion certificates to projects within a 10 km radius of the sanctuary. In the second case – a recent NGT order – developers not adhering to the 2010 guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) have been restricted from finishing their construction projects in Noida Extension. The guidelines outlined in the order are related to checking pollution during construction activities, and the precautions that need to be taken by the builders.
Many realtors in Noida and Greater Noida did not follow MOEF-2010 guidelines during construction because there was no way for the local pollution watchdog and other concerned authorities to monitor their activities.
Many buyers have paid almost in full for their homes in these locations, but after the NGT orders, they do not know when they will be able to move into their new homes or even sell their apartments. A few years ago, Noida Extension had seen f ar mers protesting against land acquisition in the area, which had led to all construction activity coming to a halt in 2011. The final order on the land acquisition is pending with the Supreme Court.
Buyers in NCR are unsure about getting early relief, since developers halt work as soon as any new court ruling comes in and is fully understood by them. Court cases, on the other hand, tend to drag on for very long in the Indian judiciary system. End-users not only have to shoulder the burden of paying EMIs but also their ongoing monthly rentals, while simultaneously remaining unsure of when they will start getting returns on their capital values.
Likewise, developers cannot be sure of court rulings halting their work even on land parcels they have purchased directly from the government. Such land is considered to be free of all issues and as having clear titles; however, as the Okhla case shows, they too can do face the brunt of uncertainty, and deserve to be heard.
Already, developers in India need countless approvals. Having a centralised approval and monitoring system at the state level is of utmost importance in India.